SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) mentor VVS Laxman on Friday said David Warner looks in superb rhythm and is raring to go as his team prepares to take on Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in their IPL 2019 opener in Kolkata on Sunday. "We played a couple of practice matches in Hyderabad and he scored in both those matches and was in fantastic rhythm and that is something really pleasing for all of us," Laxman told reporters after the team's practice session at the Eden Gardens on Friday.
Though still serving his ban from international cricket, Warner has been piling on the runs in the T20 format. He played seven matches for Sylhet Sixers in the Bangladesh Premier League earlier this year, scoring half-centuries in three of those.
Even more recently, playing in practice matches as part of SunRisers Hyderabad's preparations for the IPL 2109 season in Hyderabad, Warner smashed a half-century in one match and played a steady innings in the other.
Last Sunday, playing in the first of two practice matches, Warner scored a 43-ball 65, even bringing up his fifty with a blazing cover drive. His strike-rate was always close to the 150-mark and his knock gave his team, SunRisers-A, a brisk start. When he was dismissed, SunRisers-A, were 102/2 in 12 overs.
On Wednesday, in the second practice match organized between SunRisers-A and SunRisers-B, Warner scored a steady 25-ball 28, setting up his team to put on 187/5 in 20 overs.
Our Risers played out another thriller practice match! While @imDeepakHooda played his heart out, @iamyusufpathan and @vijayshankar260 took SRH-B across the line with their fine hitting! #OrangeArmy ?? pic.twitter.com/QhO15uBEon— SunRisers Hyderabad (@SunRisers) March 21, 2019
Speaking about Warner's preparations, Laxman said, "He is totally fit and raring to go. He has really worked hard on his fitness and also what really amazed me was the kind of rhythm he showed from the first practice session."
Warner and Steve Smith will be returning from their year-long ban for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
"David Warner is really looking positive going into this season. It was unfortunate what happened in Cape Town last year and I am sure he is looking forward to contributing to SunRisers," Laxman said.
"He has been an exceptional player for us, exceptional captain as well, a premier batsman for us and I am sure he will look forward to scoring heavily this season as well and win matches and hopefully the tournament for SunRisers."
Warner captained SunRisers to the IPL title in 2016. In 2017, the dashing southpaw finished as the highest scorer with 641 runs in 14 matches with an average of 58.27. After the ball-tampering fiasco, Warner missed the 2018 edition with New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson taking charge of the team.
(With IANS inputs)