IPL 2019: The best overseas combination for Sunrisers Hyderabad
The runner-ups of the previous edition, Sunrisers Hyderabad entered the auctions with most bases covered. However, having traded Shikhar Dhawan with Delhi, they were in search for someone to partner Warner at the top.
The other slot they were looking to fill was that of a wicket-keeper. They got Shahbaz Nadeem, Vijay Shankar and Abhishek Sharma from Delhi for Shikhar Dhawan and bought Martin Guptill, Jonny Bairstow and Wriddhiman Saha in the auctions.
While bagging Guptill and Bairstow gave them options at the top, bringing back Saha was also a wise move, considering his experience at the top. The three traded players can also prove to be more than just a little handy.
Vijay Shankar has shown his credentials in international cricket and is in contention for a world cup berth. Nadeem gives them a good Indian spin bowling option, while young Abhishek Sharma is a budding all-rounder who broke into the limelight with a 19-ball 45 for Delhi last year.
While the squad looks really strong on paper, the management will surely have a problem of plenty with their foreign players this time. Here, we look at the best possible overseas combination for the Hyderabad-based franchise.
The former skipper who led them to their maiden title in 2016 will be return after serving a one-year ban. Whether David Warner is reinstated as a captain or not remains to be seen, but the opener will surely be a huge boost for the side, especially when you consider the fact that the reliable Dhawan is no more with them.
Having not played cricket of this level for a year, Warner will undoubtedly be rusty, but the Aussie is experienced and can handle such situations and come out with flying colors. One of the most successful overseas batsman in the IPL, Warner's return is one of the most anticipated moments in the upcoming edition.
SRH were in search for a wicket-keeper as well as an opener to partner Warner. In Jonny Bairstow, they got both. The English opener has established himself as one of the best limited overs top order batsman over the last couple of years. His form will be a major boost for SRH, and will give a formidable look to the top order.
Wicket-keeping is something which gives Bairstow an edge over all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan. Saha, who has not been great with the bat for SRH so far, will be replaced by Bairstow at the top and the overseas slot which has to be sacrificed for the Englishman has to be the all-rounder slot. With Vijay Shankar coming in, SRH can actually afford to do exactly that.
Not a regular in the XI till he was made the captain last year, Kane Williamson erased all doubts about his credibility in the shortest format by bagging the coveted Orange Cap in 2018. The ban on Warner proved to be a blessing in disguise for the Kiwi skipper, who was given the opportunity to lead the side.
Williamson led from the front with the bat, finishing as the leading run-scorer of the tournament. His calm and composed leadership was so influential that comparisons were made with MS Dhoni's coolness on the field.
The fact that he led SRH to the finals last year might led to the management handing over the captaincy to Kane again. With Warner, Bairstow and Williamson forming the top 3, SRH have one of the best top orders of the tournament.
The most sought after spinner in the world in limited overs cricket, Rashid Khan will be the trump card for SRH yet again. Barring a couple of off days, Rashid was one of the most difficult bowlers to face last season.
The spearhead of the spin attack, Rashid's wicket taking abilities make teams just play him out without risk and hence the pressure created helps bowlers at the other end.
The teenager from Afghanistan is more than a decent striker of the ball and can be used as a pinch hitter at some stage of the tournament. His exploits with the bat in the qualifiers against KKR showed his potential as a batsman. He is also one of the best fielders in the side, being as fast and shap as anyone in the outfield.
Ideal playing XI: David Warner, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Kane Williamson (c), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Vijay Shankar, Deepak Hooda, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddharth Kaul, Sandeep Sharma.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and they do not necessarily represent the views of Sportskeeda.
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