The Hyderabad team is having a dismal time in the ongoing Indian T20 league. After squandering three games, chasing early in the tournament, they have failed to make any impact on the tournament thus far.
In the process, the management also decided to execute their boldest move ever, by dropping former captain, David Warner. While the move didn’t fetch the desired result, it only attracted backlash from the fans. At the moment, Hyderabad’s journey is going from bad to worse.
Although they have been consistent in making the playoffs over the years, much of their success has been ascribed to their bowling. They have always managed to construct a potent bowling line-up. However, their batting has suffered, owing to which they have struggled to pile on the runs consistently. Although they have established overseas batsmen, the dearth of Indian talent has been disappointing.
After Warner, Kane Williamson and Jonny Bairstow, the Hyderabad batting appears thin. Let us not forget, Manish Pandey too has blown hot and cold, which has further compounded their problems. There has also been the odd toss-up between the big three to accommodate an all-rounder, for some stability down the order. Despite all the various combinations and permutations, sustainability has not been met.
Currently, the only overseas spot that comes in with a guarantee is that of Rashid Khan. And perhaps, that is where the Hyderabad think-tank might have to re-work their strategy around.
It is no secret that the existing batsmen in the Hyderabad camp have only shown little promise, endangering their respective positions going forward. Therefore, Hyderabad will have to unleash the majority of its overseas professionals to get the job done with the willow. Even if that comes at the expense of the Afghanistani spinner.
Agreed Rashid is the ultimate match-winner. Arguably the best bowler in the shortest version of the game. The most desired pick too amongst the franchises around the world. But it is important to recognize that he alone cannot win games for any side, let alone Hyderabad.
Whether chasing or setting the target, teams don’t get enticed into attacking the leggie, given his wizardry. They are comfortable scoring anywhere between four-five runs per over, safely negotiating his threat. Despite that, Rashid rarely goes dry in the wickets column. He has also taken 10 wickets in seven games at an impressive economy of just over six in the ongoing T20 league, but how much have Hyderabad really benefited out of his bowling? Sadly, despite Rashid’s heroics, Hyderabad have come out second best in six out of seven games.
Regardless of the format, if there aren’t runs on the board, bowlers alone cannot win games. No matter how celebrated the bowling might appear. It is unlikely that we will see runs coming from the Indian contingent going ahead. Therefore, Hyderabad will need to probe into other options. Given their stellar roster of overseas batsmen, they could consider playing all four-- Warner, Williamson, Bairstow and Jason Roy, or squeeze Jason Holder for the finisher’s role.
Dropping Rashid will hurt him, and rightly so. It will take some courage to convey the bad news to the champion leggie, but it’s worth a shot. It’s all about momentum in T20 cricket and Hyderabad can always bring back Rashid if they get on a winning streak. The management will do well to realize that to win games, you need the runs to flow. In any case, the bowling despite Rashid’s absence appears to be steady, if not formidable.
Whichever way Hyderabad look, their season requires resurrection, and immediately too. They could continue to bench Warner and maybe even, Bairstow going ahead. But if the willow doesn’t do the talking, it will be curtains soon.
Featured Image: AFP/ Noah Seelam