Picking Bairstow In The Auction Was An Important Strategy For Us: Moody > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Picking Bairstow in the auction was an important strategy for us: Moody

SRH have the luxury of going in with their new recruit, Jonny Bairstow, and ensuring the top order doesn't suffer a massive blow in WIlliamson's absence in the first game.

The uncertainty over the availability of Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper Kane Williamson for their 2019 season opener against Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday continued, with team's head coach Tom Moody confirming that a final call would only be made on the match day.

Williamson, along with fellow countryman Martin Guptill, landed in Kolkata only on Friday night, carrying a shoulder injury that he sustained in the recently-concluded Test series against Bangladesh at home. In case Williamson misses out, which seems highly likely if the team's pre-match day practice session is any indication, vice-captain Bhuvneshwar Kumar will lead the 2016 champions at the Eden Gardens on Sunday (March 24).

"Kane only arrived last night with Martin Guptill; they had to attend an awards function in New Zealand. We are assessing Kane today and tomorrow," Moody said on the eve of the game on Saturday (March 23). "One thing we do know is that it's not a long-term injury. Whether he plays tomorrow or not, that decision will be made tomorrow. But if not, we've got quite a few days before our next home game. If he is not available tomorrow, I don't see it being any issue from the second game onwards," he added.

Going into the 2019 edition, SRH opted for Williamson to lead the side for a second successive season despite former skipper David Warner's return. The Hyderabad-based franchise won their second IPL trophy in 2016 under Warner's leadership. However, the former Australian vice-captain was one of the three players slapped with a ban by Cricket Australia for their involvement in the Newlands ball-tampering saga last March, and was subsequently left out of the IPL in 2018 too.

Warner will thus be playing his first IPL game since the scandal in Cape Town, and only six days before his one-year suspension handed by CA is due to end. But despite his availability, SRH have opted for continuity in the leadership role with Williamson. Moreover, the New Zealand captain earned his stripes with an outstanding 2018 season. Apart from leading SRH to a silver medal, he was also the edition's leading run-scorer. He led the team from front in Warner's absence, amassing 735 runs in 17 innings an outstanding average of 52.50 and a strike rate of 142.44, walking away with the Orange Cap.

Moody revealed it wasn't a difficult decision for the franchise to make, given Williamson's stature in international cricket, and also assured Warner's part in the leadership group stays the same with or without a captain's hat.

"Look, I think, Davey understood. Leadership comes in many different fashions and Davey still has a leadership role within the group. Out in the middle with bat in hand and around training and in the middle when it comes to strategising from over to over. But we just felt there was no need to make any change from last year. Kane is obviously a current standing international captain, a captain that's admired globally on that platform. And with what he did with us last year, we felt that it seem to make sense to continue that continuity."

The departure of a gun opener in Shikhar Dawan, who was traded off to Delhi Capitals, is offset by the return of Warner, a like-for-like replacement. However, in the eventuality of Williamson being sidelined for their tournament opener, SRH have the luxury of going in with their new recruit, Jonny Bairstow, and ensuring the top order doesn't suffer a massive blow.

The in-form English wicketkeeper-batsman comes with proven T20 credentials and his inclusion in the playing XI ticks many boxes for SRH - an impact player, an opener and a 'keeper all in the quota of one out of the four overseas players. SRH's shrewd auction strategy - in chasing Bairstow - has afforded them the flexibility with their four-foreign-player combinations within the eleven even in the case of a key player such as their captain missing out, something that Moody duly noted.

"Obviously, picking Johnny Bairstow up in the auction was an important strategy for us because we wanted an overseas player who could give us the option to keep wickets. And having an impact player like Johnny Bairstow, who is in the similar mould as of Jos Buttler, just gives us that option and flexibility with our overseas combinations to have that keeping role nailed down and have an impact player at the same time," he said.

SRH, on paper, are one of the most complete squads with an eleven and its back-ups all carefully chalked out and even a problem of plenty for some spots. The abundance of resources could be a headache, but the head coach feels the entire squad of 23 has the capability to walk into the eleven and win the game for the team, something that will come handy towards the latter half of the tournament when the World Cup knocks on the door and the international stars depart for their respective preparations.

"It is bit of a headache, but a headache that's been planned two years ago through the auctions. We were very conscious of making sure we had all the right combinations for any situation. I think the most important thing from my perspective and the captain's perspective is that we have constant communication with not only the foreign players but with also the domestic players. There's a number of domestic players that we feel could easily be in our best XI. We've got a squad of 23, and all of them present a strong case that they should be in the eleven tomorrow," Moody concluded.

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