The Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) had a decent campaign in the last edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). They shrugged off a slow start to make the playoffs, eventually bowing out after losing to the Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 2.
In the 2021 IPL auction, SRH were one of the quietest teams and didn't bid for too many players. Team mentor VVS Laxman later revealed that they were targeting off-spinning all-rounders Glenn Maxwell and Krishnappa Gowtham, but couldn't afford the duo.
In the end, SRH had to be satisfied with acquiring Kedar Jadhav, Jagadeesha Suchith and Mujeeb Ur Rahman. The Afghanistan mystery spinner joins his countrymen Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi at the franchise.
With very few changes to the squad, SRH are likely to field a XI similar to the one which notched up a string of wins towards the end of IPL 2020.
SRH's predicted playing XI for IPL 2021
This year's IPL is still months away, but we attempt to predict what SRH's ideal playing XI will look like.
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
1 Warner 2 Saha 3 Williamson 4 Pandey 5 Shankar 6 Samad 7 Holder 8 Rashid 9 Bhuvneshwar 10 Nadeem 11 Natarajan
Openers: David Warner (c), Wriddhiman Saha (wk)
Picking David Warner's best opening partner is a tough call, with Jonny Bairstow among the best in the world at the top of the order in white-ball cricket and Wriddhiman Saha excelling in the few games he played last year.
Saha should pip Bairstow to the post, simply because his inclusion allows SRH to field three other overseas players in their XI, which will bear a considerably more balanced look. The English opener struggled last year, and SRH's decision to drop Kane Williamson for their first few games backfired drastically.
Saha and Warner will look to get their team off to quick starts, just like they did in the latter half of their IPL 2020 campaign.