Sunrisers Hyderabad embark on another challenging journey. After their IPL debut, the new franchise fought a new battle. There was determination and vigour on their first attempt. They nearly realised their dream before being tripped in the playoffs against Rajasthan Royals.
Nevertheless, Sunrisers were the surprise package of IPL-6 and now they have not only a chance to qualify for the Champions League, but also make a mark in the tournament. The report card of coach Tom Moody’s team, with 10 wins and a fourth-place finish in the nine-team IPL was impressive, which pleased mentors Krishnamachari Srikkanth and VVS Laxman.
Sunrisers went about their task with hard work and moved swiftly in a new direction. Both Srikkanth and Laxman said team spirit was the key to their success. “There was tremendous self-belief. That helped the team perform. We backed the players and they delivered the goods,” said Srikkanth.
There will be a change of guard in the team. Shikhar Dhawan is all set to be handed over the captaincy. This is because star left-hander Kumar Sangakkara has chosen to play for his Sri Lankan team, Kandurata, which will also play in the qualifying matches. Thus, Sunrisers have decided to go with an Indian captain in the Champions League.
Laxman admitted that batting was a worrying factor in IPL and the bowlers often had to bail out the team while defending a small total. However, the batting will be strengthened by the return of South Africa’a JP Duminy, who was nursing an injury during IPL. “His return could give a big boost to the team, particularly in batting. He is an exceptional batsman,” said Laxman.
Though batting had been a problem, bowling is their biggest strength. “The bowlers rose to the occasion in many of the matches. They were the strongest in the competition and they were definitely the main strength of our team,” said Laxman.
With the team having about seven to eight all-rounders, it is one of the big plus points for the team. “Players like Sammy and Perera can swing the match, either with the bat or ball. We had given a lot of importance to all-rounders and that has paid dividends,” said Laxman.