Sunrisers Hyderabad head coach Tom Moody said the team was chosen on the basis of the belief that it will have a competitive team not only in the first year of this new contract cycle, but also in the long run.
Sunrisers Hyderabad revamped their kit after finishing bottom last season. Also ahead of another edition of the IPL, team head his coach Tom Moody is optimistic about his team’s potential in the tournament.
The Kane Williamson-skipped team relies heavily on influencing the likes of Abdul Samad and Nicholas Pooran.
Sunrisers’ Hyderabad retained only Williamson and two uncapped players (Umran Malik and Samad). What was your strategy for participating in the auction?
Of course, without a national cap, very exciting he kept two players and captain Williamson. So I was able to go to the auction with a sizable wallet. we were looking for a few things. One, of course, was building a balanced team. This gave us flexibility and the ability to play different combinations depending on the conditions. At that point, we had a pretty good idea that the tournament would be held in Mumbai. But while it was a short-term view, the long-term view was towards having a team that felt competitive not just in the first year of this new contract cycle, but also in the long run. Because obviously there is a bit of uncertainty about whether the auction system will move forward. I made a very conscious effort.
After an unforgettable season last year, what is Williamson’s strategy for this tournament? As with any franchise business, our strategy is to create an environment that feels competitive in all situations and under all conditions. This year’s competition, with 10 teams, is clearly different. So the talent, both nationally and internationally, has certainly thinned out a bit. So it’s important to make sure that we effectively combine both local and international talent, depending on the circumstances we’re playing in and the opponents we’re playing against.
As with previous editions, the team is a mix of young Indian cricketers and foreign stars. Now that tournaments are taking place in Mumbai and Pune, what do you think?
It all depends on the shape. We have an idea of what the basic structure of our site should look like.We participated in the auction and built it and extended from that framework. Although the four venues are in the same state, all these pitches play very differently at the end of the day.
We’ve got day games, we’ve got evening games. We have got games in Pune, which play differently than how they do in Mumbai. So, I think we’d be foolish to go into the tournament thinking it’s going to be very predictable when it comes to conditions. So, there’s going to be a lot of traffic on those pitches as well over the tournament as it unfolds. So we might see spin coming into more prominence as the tournament unfolds. But again, you need to have that open mind and flexibility with your selection.
The team invested heavily on Pooran and Washington Sundar. Was such a decision taken keeping in mind the fact that it was important to fix the middle-order woes after last season’s debacle?
We obviously went very hard for Ishan Kishan early on and we pushed Mumbai right to the limit to above Rs 15 crore. So we did our very best to try to secure him but unfortunately, it got to the point where it can really have an effect on the rest of your auction strategy. We weren’t anticipating it going that far.
Since we missed out on him, we recognised that the wicketkeeping-batting role was a critical one and Nicholas Pooran was the next best option because we wanted that batting role to be a left-hander as well. We retained right-handers in our top-order — Samad and Kane. So, we needed to have that point of difference with regards to that selection. Yes, we paid a high price for Pooran, but the auction tells you that’s what the rest of the franchises think of him as well. Someone doesn’t go for that price unless other people believe that that player is of great value and Pooran is one of the most exciting overseas talents in his mid-20s.
In the last season, middle-order was an area of concern. Being the head of the coaching unit, how did you plan to address the issue?
The middle-order over the last couple of years has been vulnerable. We were full of experience, both internationally and domestically, at the top of the order but we lacked that sort of depth down the order. Abdul Samad is another season wiser and more experienced and we also got to understand that batting at five, six and seven is the hardest in T20 cricket.
Most people can bat at the top and express themselves with the field restrictions in the PowerPlay, but batting at five, six and seven is tough and it takes time to learn the art of batting.
Abdul will continue to work to grow in that role because he’s one of the few cricketers domestically that can just hit the ball out of the ground, both off the front and back foot. And to complement him, we’ve recruited the likes of Pooran. So, we feel we’ve got a slightly better-balanced side that gives us the opportunity to bat a bit deeper.
Rahul Tripathi was an important pick for us as well. He is a very successful IPL cricketer and has the ability to bat anywhere from one to five. He is also a dynamic fielder, so he adds a lot to our side.