Chennai, April 22 (IANS) After being outplayed by Chennai Super Kings by seven wickets at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Friday, Sunrisers Hyderabad head coach Brian Lara indicated their new-look opening combination of Abhishek Sharma and Harry Brook is what the team will be fielding in upcoming games.
In six games of IPL 2023, Hyderabad have fielded four opening combinations, with the Brook-Sharma one the latest addition on Friday. The experiment meant regular opener Mayank Agarwal was pushed to an unfamiliar number six position, as the new opening combination put 35 runs on board before Brook fell in the fifth over.
“Obviously, the experiment of trying to get Harry Brook up the order produced a 100. If you were saying what team would you have at the beginning of the tournament, if we had a fit Abhishek, it would be Abhishek and Mayank Agarwal. But Harry Brook has given the innings some impetus a couple of times that he’s been able to get off you can see that he has intention to score which is great.”
“But we felt that after the first game, he (Abhishek) had an injury for a couple of months, didn’t have much batting going on and we just wanted him to go away and come back. This is his first opportunity since the first game against Rajasthan Royals to get out there and bat opening. When you do get a start, you do want that player to go on. That’s maybe the area that we have shuffled.”
“We had Anmolpreet Singh, then we had Abishek, then Brook and back to Abhishek. But I think we pretty much know that the left-right combination is not a bad combination to have. It didn’t entirely work (in this game), but I think there was some promise (shown in the match). We would like to see them continue for a period of time,” said Lara in the post-match press conference.
What was more baffling from Hyderabad was their usage of off-spin all-rounder Washington Sundar. At his home ground in Chennai, Washington was sent to bat at number eight, with Marco Jansen sent ahead of him.
Moreover, Washington, who achieved success in the past as a power-play bowler, was introduced only after the first six overs ended as captain Aiden Markram gave himself an over in that phase. In IPL 2023, Washington hasn’t been able to pick a wicket yet.
“Washington’s value to the team is both with the ball and bat, but we have got players who can play at the top positions. With Washington, yes, we want him to be that great all-rounder with both bat and ball, but I think it’s going to take time.”
“Pressing the button and saying that this kid has potential and let’s get him up the batting order, that’s pretty much pressing the panic button. We are not going to do that, and on paper, we have a strong squad, but we have just not fired,” added Lara.
Hyderabad’s next game in IPL 2023 will be against bottom-placed Delhi Capitals at their home ground, Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, on Monday.