IPL 2023: Sunrisers Hyderabad SWOT analysis - Will Markram guide Orange Army to 2nd title?
Aiden Markram, who led Sunrisers Eastern Cape to the inaugural SA20 title, is the third captaincy change in three years for the Hyderabad franchise.
Sunrisers Hyderabad would be banking on the leadership skills of their new skipper, South African Aiden Markram, and the cricketing acumen of coach Brian Lara to break the jinx of finishing in the lower rung over the last couple of editions, when the latest IPL season commences on March 31.
Markram, who led Sunrisers Eastern Cape to the inaugural SA20 title, is the third captaincy change in three years for the Hyderabad franchise, and will have a big job at hand to guide the side to success after it finished last in 2021 and eighth among 10 teams last year.
Having won the title in 2016, SRH's biggest issue has been their captaincy, with Australian opener David Warner and charismatic New Zealand batter Kane Williamson having to pay the price for the team's debacle in the last two editions.
SRH have brought in India batter Mayank Agarwal to boost their top order, and in Harry Brook, they have signed one of the most exciting young players in the game. Brook, 24, is being touted as the next big thing in England cricket.
He is expected to play a huge role in the middle order and comes into his maiden IPL season with 2,432 runs from 99 T20s at a strike rate of 148.32.
Lara, who was the team's strategic advisor and batting coach in 2022, has replaced Australian Tom Moody as head coach, which could give the West Indian legend more room to experiment with the batting order.
SRH will bat deep this season, with Mayank, Abhishek Sharma and Rahul Tripathi making up the top order, while the middle order could feature Markram, Brook and Glenn Phillips or Heinrich Klaasen, with Washington Sundar and Marco Jansen also in the mix.
SRH also have a strong fast-bowling attack. Apart from the experienced Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the team has Umran Malik, Jansen, T. Natarajan and Kartik Tyagi in the mix. Not to forget Afghanistan's left-arm pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi, who is in the reserves.
The Hyderabad side doesn't have quality spin-bowling options, with Adil Rashid expected to shoulder the maximum burden, though the England cricketer could get vital support from Sundar, Markram, Abhishek and Mayank Markande.
Apart from Mayank Agarwal and Rahul Tripathi, the team does not have an experienced Indian batter in the top order.
Though Abhishek Sharma had a decent IPL 2022 season, it is difficult to say if the youngster will have the same impact this year as well. He averages 23.82 in 34 IPL innings and still is a work in progress as far as opening the batting is concerned.
Abdul Samad averages just 14.12 in 20 IPL innings and cannot be relied upon in crunch situations. Anmolpreet Singh has an ordinary domestic record, averaging 21.73 with a strike rate of 114.04.
It is an opportunity for Markram to prove his leadership skills and reclaim his position as a leading batter in international cricket. It's also an opportunity for the South African to show that the SA20 title triumph was not just a flash in the pan.
The tournament will also provide opportunities to Agarwal, Umran, Sundar and T. Natarajan to show their mettle and stake claim to national team berths.
SRH don't boast of a strong bench strength and, in the event of an injury to Mayank Agarwal or Rahul Tripathi, the team doesn't have many experienced batting options at the top.
The likes of Anmolpreet, Nitish Reddy, Upendra Yadav, Abdul Samad, Mayank Dagar, Vivrant Sharma, Sanvir Singh and Samrath Vyas don't have the experience of top-level cricket.
SRH are overdependent on overseas players such as Phillips, Klaasen, Brook and Markram to do the bulk of the scoring.
Squad: Abdul Samad, Aiden Markram (c), Rahul Tripathi, Glenn Phillips, Abhishek Sharma, Marco Jansen, Washington Sundar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Kartik Tyagi, T Natarajan, Umran Malik, Harry Brook, Mayank Agarwal, Akeal Hosein, Heinrich Klaasen, Anmolpreet Singh, Adil Rashid, Mayank Markande, Vivrant Sharma, Mayank Dagar, Samarth Vyas, Sanvir Singh, Upendra Singh Yadav, Nitish Kumar Reddy.
(With inputs from PTI)