Sun rise to the challenge

The Asian Age.

Sports, Cricket

David Warner “is in a positive frame of mind and determined to do his best for the team,” Moody added.

Team Sunrisers pose after a press conference in Hyderabad on Wednesday. (Photo: DC)

Hyderabad: Last time around they played wonderfully well in the league stage and topped the table. The Orange pack made the final too, before being beaten by Chennai Super Kings. This IPL season, Sunrisers Hyderabad want to go one better.

“God willing we will win the title this year,” team mentor VVS Laxman says.

The enthusiasm and energy to pursue that goal was evident at the pre-tournament presser on Wednesday, at which their former captain David Warner was present as also new signings Jonny Bairstow (England wicketkeeper-batsman), allrounders Vijay Shankar and Abhishek Sharma, and left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem, pointing to a blend of the old and the new.

The team think tank of head coach Tom Moody, Laxman and bowling coach Muttiah Muralitharan called it a balanced side that gave them a lot of flexibility. They didn’t want to flex their muscles though.

“Everybody’s excited about the upcoming season. We have learnt a lot from the previous one too... discovered that we don’t depend on any one individual but play as a unit. Last year was a stern test of character for our team as we had lost our captain (Warner, to a ban triggered by his involvement in ball tampering) just ahead of the tournament, followed by injuries to some important players in the group. But each and every member of the side responded to the situation and performed whenever they got a chance,” Laxman said.

And yes, Warner will be a key player. “He will make a big, big difference, because he is world class. For us as a franchise he is a match-winning batsman and a skilled leader who has played a role in the development of youngsters in the franchise,” Laxman said, adding, “Personally I feel what happened at Cape Town (ball tampering) was unfortunate and the punishment he got was not right. Having seen him from close quarters I know how determined he is — he’s a fighter and that will help Sunrisers this year.”

David Warner “is in a positive frame of mind and determined to do his best for the team,” Moody added.

But it’s Kane Williamson who will continue to lead the side. “Dave (Warner) was the captain of the franchsie for a few years but Kane did a wonderful job last season. He is an outstanding player in all formats of the game and is also a highly respected international leader,” Moody said. However, “It’s not about just one man. We’ve got many good leaders who have international experience like Shakib Al Hasan, David Warner and Manish Pandey, who has done well on the domestic circuit.”

Laxman was happy with the side’s composition. “We’re not a team driven by superstar culture but one of which each and every member is an integral part. There’s a lot of energy, freedom and fearless approach which is infectious and rubs off on the other players,” he said.