Who should be Hyderabad's four overseas players?
Hyderabad have a strong squad headlined by some big additions for the 2020 season and will be vying for nothing short of a title win in 2020. The Indian T20 League franchise, however, will have some key decisions to make in terms of their overseas players this season.
Overseas players: David Warner, Rashid Khan, Kane Williamson, Jonny Bairstow, Mitchell Marsh, Mohammad Nabi, Billy Stanlake, Fabian Allen
Most runs scored in the Indian T20 League since 2014. The highest average in the powerplay overs for batsman batting minimum 100 balls since 2018. Orange cap holder for three seasons in the Indian T20 League. David Warner is an overseas legend and arguably the greatest foreign player the Indian T20 League has seen. The Australian will once again be tasked with marshalling the innings while accelerating, a role he has performed brilliantly in the past. Warner will be key to Sunrisers' fortunes this Indian T20 League season.
The Warner - Bairstow combination at the top has served well for Hyderabad in the past and they will continue to use that this season in the beginning at least. With Bairstow having a slight weakness against spin, it remains to be seen how Sunrisers manage if Bairstow's returns are slim. They do have Kane Williamson up their sleeve, former skipper and an ideal opener to have in T20s to play the sheet anchor role. But playing Williamson could mean Warner reverting to a more aggressive approach, one we haven't often seen from him in recent times with Aaron Finch (at Australia) and Bairstow (at Sunrisers) going the attacking way. As such, Bairstow might still play a lot even if he doesn't quite click.
The Afghanistan leg-spinner has a brilliant record in T20 cricket and is the most economical bowler in the Indian T20 League in the last two seasons. A natural wicket-taker in the middle and death overs, Rashid will be relied upon to produce his magic when there are set batsmen in the middle. With a powerful leg-break, a deceptive googly and subtle pace variations, Rashid is a T20 legend in his own right and definite candidate to play all 14 games for Sunrisers this season.
Two factors aid Mohammad Nabi in his selection this year - his powerplay bowling and death overs batting, both areas that Sunrisers will need help in considering that their current powerplay bowlers are all seamers. Nabi will step in as a power hitter below the likes of Warner, Bairstow, Manish Pandey and Vijay Shankar and also give freedom to some of the middle-order batsmen to play with more panache. Nabi is an underrated T20 star and a great CPL season that just ended should further aid his cause. Nabi will likely start ahead of the likes of Billy Stanlake, Kane Williamson and Fabian Allen.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Noah Seelam