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Squad Assessment for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2021

| March 12, 2021 11:45 am PDT

Since claiming their first and only Indian Premier League title back in 2016, the Sunrisers have consistently qualified for the playoffs in each of the previous four seasons – finishing third last year.

Given the team’s recent success, it is hardly surprising that Hyderabad was the quietest franchise at the 2021 IPL auction.

Head coach Trevor Bayliss added just three players to the Sunrisers Hyderabad squad for 2021, with Kedar Jadhav, Jagadeesha Suchith, and Mujeeb Ur Rahman bolstering SH’s 2021 roster.

So, can the 2021 Sunrisers Hyderabad squad challenge for the IPL title this year?

Below, I analyze SH’s squad for the 2021 IPL season. As well as assessing roster depth and overseas players, I predict the Sunrisers’ strongest playing XI for the upcoming campaign.

Assessing the Sunrisers Hyderabad Squad for 2021

Billy Stanlake, Sandeep Bavanaka, Fabian Allen, Sanjay Yadav, and Prithviraj Yarra were all released by the Sunrisers during the offseason, yet the franchise only opted to buy three new players at the 2021 IPL auction.

With the three fresh faces highlighted in bold, here is the 2021 SH squad in full.

Batsmen

  • David Warner (c)
  • Jonny Bairstow (wk)
  • Kane Williamson
  • Manish Pandey
  • Priyam Garg
  • Shreevats Goswami (wk)
  • Virat Singh
  • Wriddhiman Saha (wk)

As you can see, Hyderabad’s outright batting options remain unchanged from last year, with captain David Warner returning for his ninth season with the franchise.

Elsewhere, Jonny Bairstow and Kane Williamson add even more overseas firepower to the 2021 Sunrisers Hyderabad squad.

As well as finishing the 2020 IPL season as SH’s second-highest run-scorer (behind Warner), Manish Pandey was one of only 15 players to hit 400+ runs in the previous campaign. The 31-year-old also sits second on Hyderabad’s all-time run-scorer leaderboard (behind Warner, of course).

Despite featuring in just four matches last year, Wriddhiman Saha smashed 214 runs – averaging 71.33. Needless to say, the veteran wicket-keeper will be hoping to get more opportunities to showcase his talent in 2021.

WRIDDHIMAN SAHA – BATTING STATS (2020 IPL SEASON)
Innings Not Outs Runs High Sore Average Strike Rate Balls Faced
4 1 214 87 71.33 139.86 153

All-Rounders

  • Abdul Samad
  • Abhishek Sharma
  • Jason Holder
  • Kedar Jadhav
  • Mitch Marsh
  • Mohammad Nabi
  • Vijay Shankar

The super-experienced Kedar Jadhav was bought during the auction to bolster the all-rounder options in the Sunrisers Hyderabad roster for 2021. The 35-year-old has played 87 matches for four different IPL franchises over the years and will now bring all of his know-how to the 2021 SH squad.

Jason Holder only played seven matches last term, yet only two Sunrisers players claimed more wickets than the West Indies international. If he can get more game time this year, he could prove to be destructive with both bat and ball.

Mitch Marsh and Mohammad Nabi give head coach Trevor Bayliss more overseas options in this department, while the 2021 Sunrisers squad also boasts a number of promising homegrown all-rounders.

Bowlers

  • Basil Thampi
  • Bhuvneshwar Kumar
  • Jagadeesha Suchith
  • Khaleel Ahmed
  • Mujeeb Ur Rahman
  • Rashid Khan
  • Sandeep Sharma
  • Shahbaz Nadeem
  • Siddharth Kaul
  • T Natarajan

The standout addition to Hyderabad’s bowling attack is the highly rated off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

The 19-year-old Afghanistan international is fast becoming one of the most talked-about young bowlers in the T20 game, and he joins SH’s 2021 roster following an eye-catching BBL 10 campaign with the Brisbane Heat.

Still, we all know that Mujeeb isn’t the Sunrisers’ top Afghan import, right? After all, Rashid Khan – SH’s leading wicket-taker last season – is widely regarded as one of the best T20 players on the planet.

Left-armer Jagadeesha Suchith is the other new face in Hyderabad’s squad for the 2021 IPL season. He joins prolific countrymen like T Natarajan and Sandeep Sharma.

TOP WICKET-TAKERS FOR SUNRISERS HYDERABAD (2020 IPL SEASON)
Player Innings Overs Wickets Best Figures Economy
Rashid Khan 16 64 20 3/7 5.37
T Natarajan 16 62.5 16 2/24 8.02
Sandeep Sharma 13 52 14 3/34 7.19

Who Are the Sunrisers’ Overseas Players in 2021?

SH’s overseas options for the 2021 IPL season are intriguing, with three exciting Afghanistan internationals on board. There are also a couple of Aussies, along with an Englishman, a Kiwi, and West Indian.

Let’s take a closer look at the overseas players for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2021.

David Warner

Not only is Warner the leading run-scorer in Hyderabad’s history by a considerable margin (1,986 runs, to be exact), but he also sits third in the IPL’s all-time run-scoring charts. Better still, he is the only man to have claimed three Orange Caps over the years.

Warner’s impact on the Indian Premier League has been nothing short of phenomenal – so there is absolutely no denying that he is one of the greatest IPL players of all time.

Having finished as the competition’s top run-scorer in 2015, 2017, and 2019, the big-hitting Australian has won the Orange Cap every other year in recent times. Can he maintain that trend in 2021?

Jonny Bairstow

Despite only featuring in 11 of SH’s 16 matches last year, Bairstow was able to rack up 345 runs – averaging 31.36. The Englishman also hit three fifties along the way, falling just three runs short of a century following a blistering knock against KXIP.

Bairstow became one of Hyderabad’s overseas players back in 2019 and has since scored 790 runs in 21 matches. If he can continue that kind of form this year, the 31-year-old could easily be one of the IPL’s leading run-scorers in 2021.

JONNY BAIRSTOW – BATTING STATS (IPL)
Matches Not Outs Runs High Sore Average Strike Rate Balls Faced
21 2 790 114 41.57 142.34 555

Kane Williamson

Kane Williamson

Williamson recently surpassed Steve Smith and Virat Kohli to become the number-one ranked Test batsman in the world. But don’t be fooled into thinking this guy is only suited to test cricket.

The New Zealander is equally as lethal in the shorter formats of the game.

The Blackcaps’ captain enjoyed one of his best IPL seasons to date last year, finishing the 2020 campaign with an average of 45.28.

Heading into his seventh season with the Sunrisers, Williamson looks set to tear up the Indian Premier League again in 2021.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman

If Marsh’s BBL 10 campaign was good, then Mujeeb’s was something special. The 19-year-old prodigy took 14 wickets in eight innings for the Brisbane Heat, before leaving the tournament early to team up with the Afghanistan national side.

Mujeeb put himself among the BBL 10 stat leaders following a memorable spell against the Hurricanes, claiming figures of 5/15. Having taken three wickets in a single over against Hobart, Mujeeb is destined to be an important overseas player for the Sunrisers in 2021.

Mohammad Nabi

At 36, Nabi is almost twice Mujeeb’s age. However, the veteran all-rounder still has plenty to offer. Nabi has been used sparingly by the Hyderabad franchise over the years, although that doesn’t mean that he won’t make an impact for SH in 2021.

Having someone as experienced as Nabi in your IPL squad can only be a good thing, especially with all the youngsters coming through at the moment. Nabi could prove to be an important figure for the Sunrisers both on and off the pitch this year.

Jason Holder

Jason Holder

Holder showed everyone glimpses of what he is capable of last term. Even though he only had seven cameo performances, he impressed with both bat and ball.

As one of SH’s overseas players in 2021, I think that he deserves more game time this year.

Granted, the West Indian’s Test commitments have limited his IPL involvement in recent years.

But on his day, Holder is one of Hyderabad’s deadliest all-rounders.

Rashid Khan

A true T20 pioneer, Rashid was named to ICC Men’s T20I Player of the Decade back in December 2020. Do I really need to say anything else?

It is easy to forget that the dynamic leg-spinner is still just 22 years of age. The Afghanistan international already has four seasons of IPL cricket under his belt – and there is no reason why 2021 can’t be his most successful campaign in India to date.

RASHID KHAN – BOWLING STATS (IPL)
Matches Balls Wickets Best Figures Average Economy Strike Rate
62 1,476 75 3/7 20.49 6.24 19.68

Mitch Marsh

Throughout BBL 10, it felt like Marsh re-established himself as a genuine force in T20 cricket. The gifted all-rounder guided the Perth Scorchers all the way to the final of the Big Bash League in February, only to fall to the Sydney Sixers at the last hurdle.

With a strike rate of 147.89, the Aussie smashed 315 runs in 14 innings in BBL 10, finishing the tournament with an average of 39.38. He also claimed four wickets from 69 deliveries, bowling 30 dot balls along the way.

Sunrisers fans will be hoping that Marsh can carry his recent BBL form onto the IPL stage this year.

Analyzing SH’s Best Players for the 2021 IPL Season

Having taken everything into consideration, it’s impossible to single out just one Hyderabad player as the franchise’s standout performer.

Overseas imports such as Williamson and Bairstow certainly have the potential to be SH’s best player in 2021, while homegrown stars like Pandey and Natarajan will almost certainly shine for the Sunrisers this year.

But for me, David Warner and Rashid Khan are undoubtedly Hyderabad’s top players in 2021.

Let’s get one thing straight – Warner’s achievements in the Indian Premier League cannot be overstated. The Australian batsman has scored runs at a freakish rate since he joined SH back in 2014, with only two players currently above him on the IPL’s all-time run-scorer leaderboard.

Considering that Rohit Sharma – who sits fourth on the leaderboard – has played over 50 IPL games more than Warner, it is hardly surprising that the Aussie is viewed by many as the best overseas players in the history of the competition.

Meanwhile, Rashid has made his way to fourth in Hyderabad’s all-time wicket-taking charts – behind legends like Kumar, Sharma, and Nehra.

In just 62 matches, the 22-year-old has claimed 75 scalps and boasts an unrivaled economy rate of just 6.24. His bowling average also sits at 20.49, making him one of the most efficient bowlers in the Indian Premier League.

If Warner continues to shine with the bat and Rashid maintains his outrageous record with the ball, the Sunrisers will be difficult to stop in 2021.

Best Sunrisers Hyderabad Playing XI in 2021

Having only purchased three new players at the recent auction, SH’s starting XI in 2021 won’t look too dissimilar to last season.

Bairstow and Warner are likely to form a dangerous opening partnership, with the ever-reliable Williamson coming in at number three. Pandey is an excellent option at number, while Holder and Rahid can do a job with bat and ball.

I’m expecting Natarajan, Kumar, and Sharma to lead the bowling attack, meaning newcomer Mujeeb could struggle to break into the Sunrisers’ best XI to begin with.

Here is my predicted playing XI for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2021.

  • Jonny Bairstow
  • David Warner
  • Kane Williamson
  • Manish Pandey
  • Vijay Shankar
  • Priyam Garg
  • Jason Holder
  • Rashid Khan
  • Sandeep Sharma
  • Bhuvneshwar Kumar
  • T Natarajan

I’m sure that Bayliss will be pleased with his options in every area this year. SH’s core has remained largely unchanged from last season, with just three new arrivals coming in to challenge for a place in Hyderabad’s line-up.

Final Words on the Sunrisers Hyderabad 2021 Squad

The Sunrisers have secured a top-four finish in each of the previous five IPL seasons, winning the title in 2016, as well as finishing second in 2018. Given that Bayliss hasn’t made too many changes to SH’s 2021 squad, I can see the Hyderabad franchise enjoying another successful campaign this year.

Warner, Bairstow, Williamson, and Pandey all have the ability to score quick runs at the top of the order, while all-rounders like Shankar, Holder, Marsh, and Nabi make Hyderabad’s middle order look destructive.

When you throw bowling talents like Rashid, Mujeeb, Natarajan, and Kumar into the mix, the 2021 Sunrisers Hyderabad squad will surely be a force to be reckoned with this year.

Ben Morris

Ben is a sportswriter and tipster who specializes in soccer. Currently based in the UK, he has traveled all around the world watching – and betting on – his beloved sport.

Alongside his regular soccer content, Ben publishes blogs and picks for cricket, Formula 1, Aussie rules, darts, and various other sports.

Ben is a diehard fan of Nottingham Forest and England, so he hasn’t had much to cheer about in recent years!

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