With only one win from five games, SRH are rooted to the bottom of the IPL points table. Form isn't the only worry for the Orange Army, whose dreadful luck with injuries has carried over into this season. While T Natarajan has been ruled out of IPL 2021 after undergoing knee surgery, Bhuvneshwar Kumar suffered a thigh strain in the previous game and his status is currently unknown.
A team at the bottom of the points table clearly has a lot of issues to address. Here are 3 areas of concern for SRH ahead of their April 28 clash against the Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
#3 SRH's pace attack is devoid of proven performers
As mentioned earlier, Bhuvneshwar Kumar's availability is up in the air. With T Natarajan also ruled out of the competition, SRH may be without their two biggest match-winners in the pace department.
SRH aren't short of options, even excluding Bhuvneshwar and Natarajan. Sandeep Sharma was one of the team's best performers last year as he consistently picked up wickets in the powerplay. Siddarth Kaul has become the leader of the pace attack, and has a storied history with the franchise.
Khaleel Ahmed is one of the brightest young talents in the country, but hasn't been able to translate his immense potential into noteworthy performances. Basil Thampi hasn't gotten a game in a while now, and remains a viable back-up option.
But none of these players compare to the versatility and dependability of Bhuvneshwar and Natarajan, whose absence will be felt. SRH need to identify the right personnel in the pace department and assign them clearly defined roles.
#2 SRH have been inconsistent with their team selection
SRH have made a number of changes to their playing XI over the five IPL 2021 games they've played so far. But they're yet to arrive at a meaningful combination.
The injury to Kane Williamson kept him out of the first three games, and the No. 3 position suffered in the Kiwi's absence. Manish Pandey lost his place in the side after a couple of sluggish innings, with captain David Warner terming the decision to drop him a "harsh call".
Abhishek Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha, Mohammad Nabi, Virat Singh, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Kedar Jadhav and Mujeeb Ur Rahman have all played for SRH this year without much success. Jason Holder scalped three wickets in the only game he has played so far, but was dropped from the team because of overseas restrictions.
Abdul Samad suffered a hamstring strain and has been missing in action, while Jagadeesha Suchith put in an eye-catching performance in his first outing for the franchise in the previous game.
Many players have been given a go for SRH in IPL 2021, but very few have turned in consistent performances. And as a result, Warner and the team management have made a number of changes to the playing XI for each game.
Time is fast running out for the 2016 champions, who need to identify the right players to back and give them at least a couple of games on the trot to help them find form.
#1 SRH's middle order is almost non-existent
David Warner and Jonny Bairstow form a fearsome opening combination, and one of the best batsmen in the world - Kane Williamson - is slated to come in at No. 3. But following this overseas trio, SRH have next to no dependable batsmen to call upon.
Manish Pandey has scored101 runs in three games at an abysmal strike rate of 112.22, while Kedar Jadhav's IPL career over the last three years has been nothing short of embarrassing. Vijay Shankar's ideal batting position is yet to be ascertained, and he has only 50 runs to show for in five matches.
Virat Singh has looked completely out of sorts in the middle, and others like Abhishek Sharma haven't covered themselves in glory either. Abdul Samad has been the only Indian middle-order batsman to show promise, but he too has played a rash shot or two.
SRH's middle order is their biggest Achilles heel in IPL 2021, as it was last year. They might want to give young Priyam Garg, the only batsman apart from Shreevats Goswami to not get a game so far, a chance to showcase his potential.
Either way, SRH's middle-order batsmen need to immediately find a way to support Warner, Williamson and Bairstow.