IPL 2022: Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) struggle to replace the trio Warner, Bairstow and Rashid Khan

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Did Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) manage to replace the esteemed trio of David Warner, Jonny Bairstow and Rashid Khan in the IPL 2022 mega auction?

David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, and Rashid Khan make a kick-ass overseas core that any IPL team would desire to have. So when the IPL mega auction was announced, Sunrisers Hyderabad were expected to retain at least two among these three, but they ended up with none as SRH went for Kane Williamson, Abdul Samad, and Umran Malik. So when SRH entered the auction table on Saturday, they had to replace one of the all-time best T20 batters, a dynamic wicket-keeper batter, and the world’s best T20 legspinner, which was always going to be a tough task.

At the end of two days of intense bidding, Sunrisers Hyderabad managed to assemble a squad of 23 players consisting mostly of youth players. Nicholas Pooran, the West Indies wicket-keeper batter was their costliest buy at 10.75 crores, followed by Washington Sundar and Rahul Tripathi at 8.75 and 8.5 crores respectively.

They also managed to buy back Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T Natarajan, Abhishek Sharma, and Priyam Garg from last year’s squad. Other notable additions include the South African batter A Markram, overseas allrounders R Shepherd, M Jansen, and S Abbott, and the local bowlers Kartik Tyagi and Shreyas Gopal. Have the Orange Army been able to replace the star trio and managed to assemble a squad that covers all bases?

Before looking at the strengths and weaknesses of the squad, let’s check out whether the squad meets all the basic needs of a T20 lineup from both batting and bowling perspectives.

IPL 2022 SRH: Sunrisers Hyderabad – Batting Requirements

Powerplay Stability & Acceleration

As far as the opening spot is concerned, Sunrisers Hyderabad have a plethora of options right from their skipper Kane Williamson to their latest recruit Ravikumar Samarth. M Muralidharan, the SRH bowling coach has hinted that they would open with Abhishek Sharma and Kane Williamson looking for a RHB-LHB combination. The decision makes sense as all the contenders for the opening spot – Williamson, Markram, Tripathi, and Garg are all right-handers. Stability wouldn’t be an issue for SRH with all these batters proficient against both pace and spin in the Powerplay and are able to hold an innings together, but without the presence of a left-hander (read Abhishek) at the other end, opponent teams might target them with left-arm spinners and wrist spinners. Abhishek Sharma and Washington Sundar are two left-handers from the SRH squad who are capable of opening the innings for them, but their inexperience at the IPL level is a concern.

Spin Powerhitting

SRH have bought Pooran, one of the best spin-hitters in the T20 circuit currently, but teams have identified his struggles against the short balls recently and have been targeting him with high pace. With Williamson and Markram likely to be paired along with him, it shouldn’t be much of an issue. Apart from Pooran, both Abhishek and Samad offer hitting value against spin but the former is likely to open and the latter is likely to be played in a pace hitter role which leaves Pooran as the only reliable option. While Williamson is quite reliable against spin at the top and Tripathi shows intent, they were better off having a local left-handed spin-hitting option in the middle-order. The best option for them right now is to float Sundar up the order if there’s a spin-hitting requirement.

ALSO READ: KKR squad analysis

Pace Powerhitting

The likes of Williamson, Markram, Tripathi, Samad, and Shepherd are quite adept at hitting pace bowling but both Samad and Shepherd who are likely to take on the death-overs hitting role are both inexperienced. Samad has shown signs of brilliance in the past seasons but is quite raw and this will be Shepherd’s first season in the IPL. Glenn Phillips is another one in the squad who offers good value against pace but he’s more of a cover for Pooran. Either they should hope for Samad to have a blockbuster season down the order which is unlikely to happen at his age or they could look to deploy Markram who has the pace power-hitting gears at No.5 which could be more of an experimentation.

Support cast

It’s extremely rare to find a batter with all-round batting skills and zero obvious weaknesses. Hence it’s important to pair up batters who complement each other’s strengths in T20s. As we have discussed before, SRH have a shortage of spin hitters in their squad which means they’re extremely reliant on Pooran for acceleration vs spin in the middle overs. If teams manage to get him out cheaply, they could target the right-handers with the away spinners.

Batting Depth

On paper, Sunrisers Hyderabad have good enough batting depth with Bhuvneshwar Kumar likely to bat at No.10 if S Gopal finds a spot in the playing eleven. While SRH have some high intent batters in the lineup to make good use of the depth, they could also benefit by floating Sundar/Abhishek in a spin-hitting role whenever the situation demands.

IPL 2022 SRH: Sunrisers Hyderabad – Bowling Requirements

New Ball Threat

SRH lack a genuine wicket-taker at the top. B Kumar and W Sundar provide good control through this phase, but they both average over 40 in the powerplays since 2018. Kartik Tyagi is a good prospect but is inexperienced and while Shepherd has decent numbers in that phase in CPL, his skill set suggests he’s better off bowling in the other two phases. Sunrisers Hyderabad lack a genuine wicket-taking option in the Powerplay, but should do well with the control provided by Bhuvi and Sundar.

Death overs Specialists

B Kumar isn’t the reliable death bowler he once used to be but SRH have a couple of good death bowling options in Natarajan, who specializes in bowling yorkers, and R Shepherd who has a death economy rate of 7.7 in the CPL. Another option would be the young Kartik Tyagi who can bowl crucial yorkers at the death. While it might seem SRH have good enough options for this phase there are still concerns like Natarajan’s fitness and Shepherd largely unproven outside of CPL.

Spin Variety

This is one area SRH wouldn’t be able to do better than previous years even if they tried since they lost the world’s best T20 spinner Rashid Khan to Gujarat Titans ahead of the auction. They have somehow managed to assemble a spin trio in Sundar, Abhishek, and S Gopal. While the first two are quite reliable with the ball, Gopal has been pretty bad in the last couple of seasons. He’s the sole wrist-spinner in the squad and is a massive downgrade from Rashid Khan.

Hit the deck pacers

Apart from Tyagi and Malik, both of whom are capable of clocking upwards of 140ks, there’s a lack of bowlers in the SRH squad who could bowl the hard lengths. Only one among the above-mentioned two is likely to start in the eleven and both are inexperienced and raw.

Concerns

Injuries

Most members of the squad are recovering from injuries or injury-prone. K Williamson, their captain has been battling an elbow injury for almost 15 months now and SRH’s bowling attack of Bhuvi, Sundar, Natarajan, and Tyagi have fully or partially missed the last IPL due to injuries. With a squad that lacks quality depth, a loss of a starting player due to injury would be a major setback for them.

Experience

SRH’s current squad is full of youth, inexperienced, or at best support players. They lack proven performers who can be relied upon for consistent performances. While it is understandable that they are planning for the future, they could’ve done a lot better in the auction considering they had the second-highest purse among all teams going into the auction.

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