How Will SRH and RR Cope With The Ban On Smith And Warner?The recent ball-tampering fiasco in South Africa resulted in two IPL teams losing their captains and starred players. Rajasthan Royals (RR), making a comeback after two years, lost Steve Smith and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) lost David Warner as both were banned from playing cricket for one year by Cricket Australia. While both RR and SRH have put up a brave face, it must have hurt hard to lose the stellar players just a few days before the competition is about to start. The presence of players of the stature of Smith and Warner is a huge advantage in the dugout.
First publised on 2018-04-06 21:15:02
Even though Smith has had a chequered history in the IPL, making just 1703 runs in 69 matches spread over 6 years with an average of 37.02 and a strike rate of 131.70 including 1 century and 5 fifties, he has it in him to put any attack to sword on a given day. He also had the experience of building a team and guiding and goading youngsters to bring the best out of them. Hence, RR will now have to shelve their original plan and work on Plan B. One is sure mentor Shane Warne and head coach Paddy Upton have already devised one, now that Ajinkye Rahane has been handed over the reins of captaincy.
RR has two of the most explosive batsmen in T20 cricket in Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes, a score of talented young Indian players and good bowlers. They have also roped in Zahir Khan, the Afghan chinaman bowler who is likely to play a huge role in their scheme of things this year. Overall, the team is good on paper and is likely to provide stiff competition to the others. The two year absence must have made them hungry and the Smith setback is not going peg them back.
David Warner, on the other hand, has been one of IPLs most consistent and entertaining batsmen. He has played 114 matches in 9 years, scoring 4014 runs at an average of 40.54 with a strike rate of 142.13, including 3 hundreds and 36 fifties. He had really come into his own in the last two years, scoring 848 runs in 17 matches in 2016 and 641 in 14 matches in 2017. In 2016, he led SRH to their maiden tournament title. Hence, SRH are definitely going to miss him at the top.
Although Kane Williamson, the newly appointed captain of the team, is a great talent and one of the worlds best batsmen, Warner will leave a vacuum at the top of the batting order. But SRH can experiment with Wriddhiman Saha as an opener especially since he has said more than once that he likes that position. Further, during a club tournament in Kolkata, he hit an amazing century off just 20 balls just a week ago, signaling his readiness for the IPL. Otherwise, SRH has the right mix of experience and youth that Williamson and head coach Tom Moody can mould it into a champion unit even without Warner.