Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) mentor V. V. S. Laxman says a strong leadership group and the ability to play as a unit have been the strong points for an Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise that is packed with quite a few players who can be match winners on their day.
However, the India batting great says this year’s edition will be different as SRH will not be playing at home in Hyderabad. “The last edition in the United Arab Emirates taught us how to adapt to different conditions, and we have a very balanced and good squad to do really well,” says Laxman.
Our correspondents Vijay Lokapally, Shayan Acharya and Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya discuss the men’s side’s season thus far and what to look forward to in the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League.
The 2021 IPL season is being played across six venues – Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai – because of the restrictions necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
SRH’s strength lies in its bowling options, says Laxman. “We are glad that we could rope in players like Kedar (Jadhav) and Mujeeb (Afghan leg-spinner Mujeeb-ur-Rahman) whose experience should be very handy,” he said, adding: “With Bhuvi (pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar) coming back from injury and bowling really well against England, and left-armer T. Natarajan having the confidence of playing for India, the bowling attack will be much stronger this time around.” The Hyderabad franchise has made conscious efforts to ensure that its players are mentally and physically fresh for its games in view of the demanding schedule. “Definitely, the bio-bubble is a huge challenge for everyone involved in the IPL. But again, the players have shown in the last one year or so that they take pride in playing the game with passion and enjoy doing what they love — giving their best on the field despite the trying conditions.
“Any IPL is always tough as all the franchisees have very balanced and strong teams.. But we at SRH take pride in the way we can fight back, like in the last edition when at one stage in the league phase we had no chance, but we bounced back so well to make it to the qualifiers,” he says.
Laxman says SRH would like to look at the forthcoming campaign on three levels — the league phase and home and away games — and raise its game once it makes to the knockouts. “We don’t want to look too far beyond. We would love to take it match by match and keep improving with each game to win the championship again.”