Sunrisers Hyderabad had a very unpredictable 2020 IPL. When they won only three games after nine games, and their batting and bowling imbalances were laid bare, not many gave them a chance to make it to the final four - yet they ended up reaching the play-offs with some stellar performances.
SRH is one of those IPL teams that have made it a habit of making it to the playoffs. They don't necessarily have the best of sides on paper year after year but just somehow all players contribute to the cause, click together and emerge as one of the strongest contenders. After a poor IPL 2019, their IPL 2020 season also took the same route for a major part the season. Their batting's over-dependency on Warner-Bairstow was beginning to push them on to the back foot while their bowling was nowhere as good as the Hyderabad sides over the years, which has been their mantra for success.
But they won four games of the last five games with everything falling at the right place and there was a point when they looked like favorites to win the season with momentum riding on their side. But, it was not to be and on of the reasons was that, no matter how good they were, the cracks were certainly there in the side needing to be addressed.
Siddarth Kaul, Mitchell Marsh, Billy Stanlake, Sanjay Yadav and Bavanaka Sandeep.
Siddarth Kaul (3.80 crore): In the last two seasons, Kaul has become a forgotten figure, playing merely eight games out of 30 for SRH. At 3.80 crore, he's the second most expensive specialist pacer after Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the side. But it's no longer worth to keep as much money engaged with a player that SRH trusts as less as Kaul. The rise of T Natarajan as a brilliant all-round bowler and the way Sandeep Sharma has started firing, Kaul's future looks bleak at SRH. Not to forget Hyderabad also have a promising Khaleel Ahmed and it would be better if they keep Basil Thampi (95 lakhs) in place of him with an eye on getting other Indian pacers with the money, which looks misplaced at the Punjab pacer, given what it can bring for the team in the auction.
Mitchell Marsh: Australian all-rounder Mitchell Marsh got injured in IPL 2020 and as a result Jason Holder replaced him in the squad. It proved to be a blessing in disguise for the Men in Orange. The Windies skipper did a great job for the SRH side be it with the ball or the bat. Given what he brings to the plate, a far better bowling option than Marsh and a more than handy lower-middle-order option, SRH should release Mitchell Marsh with Holder's presence in the side.
Billy Stanlake (50 lakhs): The lanky Aussie pacer Billy Stanlake has hardly played six games in the last four years in the IPL. He hasn't even played a single game in the last two seasons. He was a tricky customer a couple of years back with his pace and bounce, but he has faded with time and is a mere shadow of his venomous 2018-self. His release will open up a foreign slot and there is no real need for him in the side, with the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T Natarajan, Sandeep Sharma, Jason Holder and Khaleel Ahmed already serving as pace-bowling options.
Bavanaka Sandeep (20 lakhs) and Sanjay Yadav (20 lakhs): Bavanaka and Sanjay should also be released since they are not likely to feature in the XI and there are already a lot of young batting and spinning options in the side. Also, SRH would want more slots free so they can add players they need from the mini-auction.
Marry (Retain at all cost)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson, David Warner, Priyam Garg, Abdul Samad, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, T Natarajan, Shahbaz Nadeem, Jason Holder, Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Jonny Bairstow, and Wriddhiman Saha.
In all fairness, despite the initial blips, David Warner's men had a splendid IPL 2020 as they finished at the third spot. It won't make much sense to tinker with the core of the side. The addition of Jason Holder to the side was a brilliant call and a blessing in disguise. All they need to do in the mini-auction coming up is to get a good middle-order batsman or two and Indian pacers, which they can with the money saved after releasing the high-cost players. This team will continue being one of the strongest.
Frill (Retain as back-up)
Jharkhand left-hander Virat Singh is an enormously talented youngster rising up the ranks. He's yet to make his IPL debut but the 23-year-old has to be backed given his brilliant run of form in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy and his raw talent. Virat has already made a 35-ball-47, a 53-ball-103 and a 37-ball-67 in the ongoing T20 domestic tournament and has lot of flair and flamboyance. The southpaw should be retained as a back-up.
The young Punjab all-rounder might not have played as many games as a certain Priyam Garg or impressed like Abdul Samad, but the youngster is a great investment at 55 lakhs. His lower-order hitting and helpful left-arm spin can prove to be a great package in times to come as he develops with age, time and experience.
With Jonny Bairstow and Wriddhiman Saha already in the squad, not many times does Goswami get to play. But in the last season, Bairstow had to be kept out due to overseas combination and Saha got injured, which gave the Bengal gloveman a chance to play. And as a second back-up keeper, he's a decent option at 1 crore given he's a brilliant keeper. In the ongoing SMAT 2021, Goswami has posted scores of 25, 27, 69* and 16 to impress one and all to push his case strongly. A rather handy back-up option.
Windies all-rounder Fabian Allen is a great package in the T20 format. With a strike-rate close to 160 and an economy under 8, he's one of the best all-round packages in the side and to have him at 50 lakh is a great steal. He should be kept as a back-up as at that price, getting someone like Allen is a bargain.
The uncapped Indian pacer should also be kept as a back-up option given the value he brings to the plate at his price range.
Total number of players SRH need to retain: 16 (marry) + 5 (frill): 21
Total number of players SRH need to release: 5 (chuck)
Cash saved: 5.25 crore
Remaining purse: 16.05 crore
Final squad: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson, David Warner, Virat Singh, Priyam Garg, Abdul Samad, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, T Natarajan, Abhishek Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Jason Holder, Fabian Allen, Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Jonny Bairstow, Wriddhiman Saha, Shreevats Goswami, and Basil Thampi