IPL 2014: Upbeat Sunrisers Hyderabad bank on Dhawan, Steyn & Co.
Team management feel lucky and glad to be able to retain the core of the side as Sunrisers Hyderabad look poised to launch another spirited fight this season after their heroics last year in the Indian Premier League.
Describing Sunrisers Hyderabad as a balanced side, the team's chief coach Tom Moody and mentor Kris Srikkanth exuded confidence about a successful campaign in the upcoming Indian Premier League starting April 16 in Abu Dhabi.
"Obviously, we had a good campaign last year, given that it was our first IPL as Sunrisers Hyderabad. This year we feel confident again. We feel we have got a very good balance in our side that allows us to adapt," Moody told reporters here.
Sunrisers Hyderabad had reached the play-offs last year. Srikkanth said the "core team" has been retained this year and that would ensure continuity.
"As far as we are concerned, I think the team is well-prepared. One thing, I just want to add on to what Tom said regarding the team aspect is, we got the core team with us.
"We have got Shikhar Dhawan, Ishant Sharma is right here, Karn Sharma is here. He was a member of last year's team. We have of course Amit Mishra, Darren Sammy and Dale Steyn. The most important thing is we were able to manage somehow to get almost the core team. Last year, we gelled well together and did well. I think that's a very important aspect," he said.
Noting that all the IPL teams comprised good and talented players, Srikkanth felt that the competition this year will be evenly poised.
"Every team has planned it very well. One good thing about this IPL is, it is going to be an evenly-balanced tournament. Last couple of years, there were sides, which are at least on paper rated very weak. This time, all the eight teams have got good players. It is going to be a good tournament. It is going to be a very well fought tournament," he said.
Replying to a query, he said playing the earlier portion of the event in UAE and then coming back to India for the rest of the tournament may not be a big factor as conditions in both the countries are more or less similar. "We are playing in two different countries, obviously, because of elections. I think we should thank the government of India for allowing us to come back half way and do the major part of tournament in India.
"I cannot compare with the good old days when we played in Sharjah. The wickets are similar to India. We expect them to be slightly on the slow side and probably on the turning side," Srikkanth said.
Former India batsman and Sunrisers mentor VVS Laxman said the batting and bowling departments have been strengthened with new players like Aaron Finch, David Warner and Irfan Pathan and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar joining the side.
"As he (Srikkanth) said, we retained the core team. We did well last year. We also got some highly skilled players this year. In the batting department, Aaron Finch and David Warner are the most destructive T20 batsmen. Our bowling has been strengthened with Irfan Pathan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar joining the side. We are very fortunate. We have good balance," Moody said.
"Overall, we have got a good, balanced side. We won crucial games last year. We would like to continue that attitude and wanted to retain that team environment. The new players we have can easily adapt to the team environment. Whoever plays well on that day wins in T20. But, we have a good squad. I am sure we will do well," he added.
Asked if the controversies that hit IPL last year would impact this year's tournament, Srikkanth replied in the negative and said it is a fresh start for all the players. "Not at all. It is a fresh tournament. All of us start with a fresh mind. In all fairness, cricket is a team sport and a great sport. The game is bigger than any individual. We all respect it. All of us go and play in the right spirit. That's what cricket has taught all of us. That's how we all played in the past. I am sure all the young players will do the same thing today. I think the spirit of cricket is more important. Cricket is a gentleman's game. We would like to make it a gentleman's game," he said