Big question: Will Kedar Jadhav be ‘x factor’ in SRH middle-order

New Delhi, Apr 4 (PTI) One of the most consistent teams in the Indian Premier League over the last five years, Sunrisers Hyderabad would look to improve upon their middle-order batting during this edition of the tournament. Since winning their only IPL title in 2016 under Warner’s leadership, SRH have always made it to the play-offs but failed to finish on top. In 2017, SRH lost to Kolkata Knight Riders in the eliminator, while the Hyderabad outfit finished runners-up the next year, losing to Chennai Super Kings in the final. In 2019 and 2020 edition of the tournament which was held in the UAE earlier this year due to COVID-19 pandemic, SRH lost to Delhi Capitals in the eliminator and Qualifier 2 respectively. Having retained their core group for the 2021 season, SRH wasn’t that active in the IPL Players’ Auction earlier this year, only adding a few back-up options to their already settled line-up. However one area of concern was a lean on experience middle-order last time where they depended on the likes of Priyam Garg, Abhishek Sharma and Abdul Samad. STRENGTHS: The main strength of SRH is the balance they possesses, especially a fantastic top order. With the likes of David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey and Wriddhiman Saha up their ranks, SRH have one of the most destructive batting line-ups. Warner and Bairstow forms one of the most feared opening pairs in the IPL. The duo has no qualms in taking the opposition attack from ball one and if they get going, no target is unachievable and is a treat to watch for spectators. However with an in-form Jason Roy also in the equation, the choice of four foreigners won’t be that easy with only David Warner and Rashid Khan picking themselves. The remaining two slots will depend on conditions and it could be Jason Holder with his all-round skills and Kane Williamson with his experience completing the four-pronged overseas quota. SRH’s bowling too looks impressive with fit-again Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Rashid leading the pack. The presence of Afghan star Mujeeb-ur Rahman and yorker king T Natarajan adds the much-needed impetus to their attack. WEAKNESSES: The major weakness of SRH is the absence of a finisher in their line-up. The middle-order too looked shaky in the last IPL in the UAE and that is where SRH would be banking on Williamson’s vast experience. Although Shankar is regarded highly as an all-rounder, the Tamil Nadu cricketer is yet to prove his mettle for SRH and that is something which would be a cause of concern for the team management. Even though SRH has roped in Kedar Jadhav this year, it remains to be seen whether the Maharshtra all-rounder can prove his worth considering the fact that he is very much short of practice. OPPORTUNITY: Wriddhiman Saha if given a promotion in the batting order would look at it as an opportunity to show his range of strokes while Kedar Jadhav, whose international career as good as over could add that muscle which the SRH desperately require in the middle -order. This IPL will be a make-or-break one for Manish Pandey, who has already fallen in the pecking order as far as national team is concerned. Pandey would like to make a statement to national selectors and be in the mix. THREATS: SRH is heavily reliant on its top-order to provide a good start and God forbids if the likes of Warner, Bairstow, Pandey and Williamson fails for long, the pressure would shift to the team’s middle and lower order, which includes the likes of Shankar, Holder and others. On the bowling front too, SRH is over-dependent of Rashid to deliver the goods when the team needs. Squad: David Warner (C), Kane Williamson, Virat Singh, Manish Pandey, Priyam Garg, Wriddhiman Saha, Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Sreevats Goswami, Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Nabi, Kedar Jadhav, J Suchit, Jason Holder, Abhishek Sharma, Abdul Samad, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan, T Natarajan, Sandeep Sharma, Khaleel Ahmed, Siddharth Kaul, Basil Thampi, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mujeeb ur Rahman.


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