x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Indian Premier League: Chance for Sunrisers Hyderabad to rise and shine

The IPL franchise, which is a new avatara of Deccan Chargers, has a perfect balance of the old and new, writes Osman Samiuddin.

Shikhar Dhawan, batting for Deccan Chargers, the previous avatara of Sunrisers Hyderabad, is expected to carry his Test form into IPL. Noah Seelam / AFP
Shikhar Dhawan, batting for Deccan Chargers, the previous avatara of Sunrisers Hyderabad, is expected to carry his Test form into IPL. Noah Seelam / AFP

From the ashes of the Deccan will rise the Sunrisers? In one sense, the Sunrisers Hyderabad are an old team: the IPL franchise from Hyderabad was previously known as the Deccan Chargers and owned by the Deccan Chronicle media group, before their franchise rights were terminated by the Board of Control for Cricket in India over a payment dispute. They still retain many of the older players.

But, in another sense, this is a new team. They have a new name and a new owner in Sun TV, a vast television network with 32 channels and 45 radio stations.

Prospects

Despite the upheaval, do not rule out some surprise results from the Sunrisers. They still retain some good players from the Deccan days. This season, they have installed Tom Moody as coach, taken on Waqar Younis as a bowling consultant and have VVS Laxman around as a mentor.

They have also been active and shrewd at the auction, picking up Darren Sammy, the West Indies captain, Quinton de Kock and Clint McKay among others. The three, together with the core of men such as Kumar Sangakkara, Cameron White and Dale Steyn, means that they will not be taken as lightly as the other newish team, the Pune Warriors, for example.

Star foreign signing

Far be it for Sammy to be anything remotely starry or anything other than exceedingly self-effacing and down to earth. But his leadership of the West Indies, with as many critics as it has supporters, has been a gentle success. He at least has arrested a slide.

Late last year, he also led them to their first world title in decades and that achievement cannot be swept aside by any concerns over his own place in the side. In fact, the World Twenty20 win in Sri Lanka has rightly upped his stock, though US$425,000 (Dh1.6 million) is still fairly cheap for a world champion.

Star Indian player

The Sunrisers have fairly decent home talent, of a serviceable quality for the purposes of the IPL, at least. Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra, Parthiv Patel and VRV Singh should be cause for worry for most opposition.

But, fittingly for this age of the overnight star, no local player will have more spotlight on him than Shikhar Dhawan.

The left-handed batsman announced himself on the Test stage with an audacious hundred against Australia, the fastest ton on debut.

It won him the match award as well, and though he could not bat again after fracturing his hand, when he walks out for the Sunrisers' first game of the season, all eyes will be on him.

Previous history

Strictly speaking, the Sunrisers have none. But if we can use the history of the Deccan Chargers as a guide, then, well, we cannot really find a pattern.

They finished at the bottom of the inaugural season, a truly miserable performance of only two wins from 14 games.

Then they finished fourth the following season in the league and won the trophy.

They made another semi-final the following year after finishing second in the league, but have since slipped away alarmingly. In their past two seasons, they have finished seventh and eighth.

Not a bad time to start afresh.

osamiuddin@thenational.ae

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