Delhi Capitals (DC) assistant coach Shane Watson believes not everything is well in the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) camp in the ongoing 15th edition of the Indian Premier League.
Kane Williamson and Co. were thrashed in the first game by Rajasthan Royals (RR) on Tuesday, and the IPL team never looked like putting up any resistance.
Shane Watson believes the warning signs started after Simon Katish stepped down from his role, days after the IPL 2022 mega auction. Speaking on a YouTube podcast 'The Grade Cricketer', Watson said:
"Alarm bells started when Simon Katich left just after the auction. That's normally not a great sight because Katich is one of the most generally good people. It's really injustice really if people really go against what they say. So obviously something has gone down there that Katich stepped away immediately and won't be a part of it. That's a warning sign to start with."
Katich relinquished his duties just two months after being appointed Tom Moody's deputy. In his official communication to the franchise, Katich said he was uncomfortable staying inside the IPL bubble and away from his family for a long period.
However, a report in The Australian quoted sources as saying that "Katich disagreed with the way the team was being managed and felt that pre-auction plans were disregarded."
Meanwhile, Hyderabad have one of the weakest teams in the competition after parting ways with David Warner and Rashid Khan after IPL 2021. Former Australian all-rounder Watson also spoke on the same lines, saying the team is not looking strong. The 40-year-old continued:
"The make-up of their team is not incredibly strong and then how they have performed in the first game. Yes, Rajasthan Royals have a very good squad, and they played really well, but it's not looking great. It feels like there is a lot of stuff around the team that is obviously not helping everything on the field."
Hyderabad's bowling looked ordinary, as Rajasthan took their bowlers to the cleaners, scoring a mammoth 210 runs. In response, the Orange Army could only muster 149 as they fell to a crushing defeat in their campaign opener.
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"The biggest influence around the team is one when the best players aren't getting picked" - Shane Watson
Meanwhile, things started going downhill for SRH after star batter David Warner was stripped of the captaincy last year and was eventually left out of the playing XI.
When asked if outside influence can have an impact on the ground, Shane Watson replied that the influence flows through the system and eventually gets into the team. He continued:
"The biggest influence around the team is one when the best players aren't getting picked, and people don't know what's going on. The make-up of the side changes a lot and at the start of the season there can be infighting between the support staff, that is filtering to the owners and then the captain of the team, which can definitely have quite a bit of an influence."
Shane Watson added:
"The selection can have some influence from different people instead of the cricket people, who are employed to actually make the decisions. So, it really comes down to when other people get involved in the cricket side of the game and whether it's at auction or in and around the auction, it seems like something is going on around there. When experts aren't in control to make the decisions, and it's taken out of their hands, that's normally when things start to go a bit wrong."
Shane Watson said that these things eventually get to the players, who then look to play for themselves and secure their place in the playing XI rather than playing for the team.
Watson, who won the IPL for Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, concluded:
"As players, you all sense what's going on in and around the franchise, and if it's not being controlled and influences coming in from sort of various parts, that's when people start looking over their shoulders. They can start playing for themselves; all they care about just to perform and get another game, and the environment starts going like that. It's no way a great sign for a team."
SRH will look to shrug off their setback and come out all guns blazing in their second game against Lucknow Super Giants (LSG), according to the IPL schedule.