Hyderabad bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar was, on Monday, ruled out of the 2020 edition of the Indian T20 League after a thigh injury of grade 2 or grade 3 nature saw him hobble off the field in the game against Chennai last week. Now, Bhuvneshwar's loss is a body blow for Hyderabad who are just finding their feet in the season after a lacklustre start. Not only are they without their most containing bowling option but also someone capable of giving overs across phases. So, how will Hyderabad cope with Bhuvneshwar's loss?
The added spin option
The pitches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are getting drier and slower and starting to take turn. The finger spinners are coming into prominence with the slow wickets and Hyderabad could opt to go left-field early on and choose to add to their spin attack to replace Bhuvneshwar.
One spinner who probably deserves a go in the bench is Shahbaz Nadeem. The left-arm spinner was a regular feature in the Hyderabad setup for a couple of seasons and was mostly used as a match-up option. With them having no spinner in the powerplay phase right now, Nadeem could be a good bet, especially when the tracks start turning more.
Khaleel Ahmed as a powerplay specialist/Kaul as death specialist
Replacing a multi-utility bowler like Bhuvneshwar can be tough, and hence Hyderabad might have to settle for one of two options - a powerplay specialist or a death overs specialist. Khaleel Ahmed was the top wicket-taker in the powerplay overs for Hyderabad last season and could return to focus just on the first few new-ball overs.
The other option is to persist with Kaul, whose death overs are impressive because of the variations he has. Kaul was used in the powerplay last game and leaked runs and it may not really be the best way to utilise him. Instead, he can focus on the death overs for Hyderabad with Sandeep Sharma, a spinner in maybe Nadeem or Nabi and Natarajan bowling in the powerplay.
Nabi or Holder in for Williamson to make up new ball options
Hyderabad will especially be hit in the first six overs as Bhuvneshwar was wicket-taking and economical. Mohammad Nabi and Jason Holder are two other powerplay specialists they have on the bench. But bringing an overseas option in will mean they will have to sacrifice the position that Kane Williamson is occupying.
While Holder adds powerplay value and spin hitting, Nabi can handle the death overs with the bat - an area Hyderabad are weak in now - and bowl in the powerplay and middle overs to make up for Bhuvneshwar's absence. Holder, on the other hand, may not quite be able to match up the batting loss despite his underrated stature as a hitter in this format. Either option can, however, be good on the bowling front.
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