The Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) exceeded expectations in the Indian Premier League (IPL) last year as they went on a late winning run to reach the playoffs.
Under the shrewd captaincy of David Warner, SRH overcame an injury to lead pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar and reached Qualifier 2, where they fell to the Delhi Capitals. The 2016 champions have a fairly well-rounded roster this season as well, and plugged the few holes they had in the auction.
SRH had only one overseas slot available, which they filled by acquiring Afghanistan mystery spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
SRH's squad for IPL 2021: David Warner, Kane Williamson, Virat Singh, Manish Pandey, Priyam Garg, Wriddhiman Saha, Jonny Bairstow, Sreevats Goswami, Vijay Shankar, Mitchell Marsh, Mohammad Nabi, Jason Holder, Abhishek Sharma, Abdul Samad, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan, T Natarajan, Sandeep Sharma, Khaleel Ahmed, Siddarth Kaul, Basil Thampi, Shahbaz Nadeem, Kedar Jadhav, Jagadeesha Suchith, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
In this article, we predict the four overseas players in SRH's XI for IPL 2021.
David Warner, Rashid Khan guaranteed to be part of SRH's playing XI in IPL 2021
David Warner and Rashid Khan are perhaps the two most important players in the SRH squad, and are obviously guaranteed to be part of the playing XI in IPL 2021.
Warner's captaincy has only gone from strength to strength in the IPL, and he has managed to pile on the runs in almost every season. The Aussie is right up there with the greatest IPL batsmen of all time, and as always, he is an early contender for the Orange Cap.
Rashid, on the other hand, is arguably the best T20 bowler in the world. Still next to unreadable in this era of advanced technology, the Afghan youngster is always going to be economical and penetrative.
Kane Williamson, Jonny Bairstow, Mohammad Nabi, Jason Holder, Mitchell Marsh the candidates for the remaining slots
Mujeeb Ur Rahman is perhaps the only overseas player who has next to no chance of making the playing XI in IPL 2021. All the others have cases to be made for their inclusion.
Jonny Bairstow lost his place in the SRH side towards the end of IPL 2020, mostly because the team needed to play Jason Holder after Bhuvneshwar Kumar suffered an injury. And with Williamson shepherding the inexperienced middle order, the Englishman became the sacrificial lamb.
But Bairstow was in sizzling form in his country's recent ODI series against India, even finishing with the Man of the Series award despite being on the wrong end of the result. Although Wriddhiman Saha did exceptionally well when called upon in IPL 2020, Bairstow should open the batting alongside Warner and don the gloves.
Kane Williamson too is impossible to leave out, and we could see SRH play both him and Bairstow. The Kiwi skipper's experience and ability to shift gears will be crucial to SRH's fortunes.
Williamson playing ahead of Mohammad Nabi, Jason Holder and Mitchell Marsh will only be possible because of Bhuvneshwar's form. The India spearhead seemed to be back to his best in the white-ball leg of the England series, and he'll have support from two stars from last season - T Natarajan and Sandeep Sharma - apart from Vijay Shankar.
While Nabi will add great value to the side with his all-round abilities and experience, two of Shahbaz Nadeem, Abhishek Sharma and Abdul Samad might be enough to satisfy spin requirements. Holder too might be on the bench despite stellar performances in IPL 2020.
Overall, it's next to impossible for SRH to drop either Bairstow or Williamson.
VERDICT: David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, Kane Williamson, Rashid Khan