IPL 2018 retentions: Decoding Sunrisers Hyderabad's plans
After a rough ride in their first few years of IPL, the Sunrisers Hyderabad found wheels in their wagon in the 2016 edition, winning their maiden title under David Warner.
This year, the side seems to be banking on the Australian's experience in the T20 format to guide the ship forward, as they embark into unknown waters with most of their winning squad being let go.
With only two players retained, the franchise has a handy sum of Rs. 59 crore left in their account, and as is the case for others, three right-to-match options to choose from.
Who got retained?
To keep the house in order, the management has decided to keep the services of David Warner, who has been one of the most consistent performers of the tournament over the years. At the top of the order, Warner lends immense balance: he seldom gives his wicket away to a false stroke and is always on the lookout for gaps to pierce.
With Shikhar Dhawan taking time to find his strokes, Warner used to go for the kill. With the side letting go of Dhawan for the time being, the requirement of Warner at the top of the order is evident.
As a captain, Warner is shrewd, knowing his bowlers inside out. His passion on the field is evident, which has worked well for Sunrisers, who have been blessed with a strong bowling attack in the last two years.
Being a foreign player doesn't affect his relationship with Indian players, with youngsters like Deepak Hooda and Vijay Shankar having shown their worth under him.
As the second retention, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was a no-brainer. The Indian pacer has cranked up his pace a few notches and is now equipped with both speed and swing to trouble batsmen early in the innings. He has also been using the cutters to good effect, and has employed the slower ball effectively, with his death bowling prowess having been showcased on several occasions for Hyderabad.
Bhuvneshwar will have a new challenge to deal with this time: the workload was shared with others until last year, but the departure of Ashish Nehra means that 'Bhuvi' will officially become the spearhead of the bowling attack, as the side awaits the auctions for bolstering their resources.
Right to match options
Rashid Khan is a sure shot bet to be retained by the Sunrisers in their Right to Match card, after seeing the way he has evolved over the last one year. Still 19, Rashid has proved his worth across the globe, and is currently picking wickets for fun in the Big Bash. With Warner as one of the foreigners, Rashid could be lined up as the other overseas player in the team.
With the contracts running for three years, it would have been little sense to retain out-of-favour India player Yuvraj Singh, and to have spent even 7 crores on him. Known to be a big buy in the auctions, he has fetched some huge figures over the years, but at 36, an uncertain future won't compel the Sunrisers to keep him as one of the RTM players.
As their RTM options, the side will be compelled to include Shikhar Dhawan back in their plans. The southpaw has been a rock at the top of the order, and perfectly complements the style of Warner.
Apart from Rashid and Dhawan, the Hyderabad side could retain a youngster in Deepak Hooda or Siddharth Kaul, both of whom played their part in the last two years. While Hooda, the hard-hitting batsman and handy off-spinner, adds balance to the side, Kaul has been a useful medium pacer who can bowl in a tight spell or two, while deceiving the batsmen with variations.