Laxman happy with SRH’s options

Tue Feb 2017

Defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad have reason to be pleased with the way the auction panned out. Having retained 17 of the title-winning squad, they were clear in what they wanted. Spinners, as they had released Karn Sharma and a second wicketkeeper, because Aditya Tare was not part of the mix. They acquired eight players on Monday: four overseas and four domestic, including two from Hyderabad.

The Sunrisers set a target of about Rs 12 crore for Ben Stokes, and opted out of the race for the England all-rounder once it crossed their limit. They didn’t relent on their requirements, though.

Ekalavya Dwivedi fits the requirement of an additional ‘keeper ­Naman Ojha is their No.1 choice ­ and is brilliant in the field if played purely as a batsman. At Rs 10 lakh, Pravin Tambe was a steal, but they had to splurge Rs 4 crore on 18-year-old leg-spinner Rashid Khan from Afghanistan.

The all-rounders were next on the agenda. Mohammad Nabi cost them Rs 30 lakh and they also bagged two very good bowlers at the ‘death’, Chris Jordan (Rs 50 lakh) and Ben Laughlin (Rs 30 lakh). They also acquired two Hyderabad players in batsman Tanmay Agarwal (Rs 10 lakh) and bowler Mohammed Siraj for Rs 2.6 crore.

“We’ve been able to fill the gaps and I think we’ve covered all aspects of the team,” SRH mentor VVS Laxman told TOI on Monday.

The 25-man squad, Laxman reckoned, affords SRH the flexibility to field four-five different combinations with a mix of overseas and domestic players. “Nabi fitted the bill for an all-rounder. He’s a very good bowler in powerplays and a powerful hitter. We looked for a spinner as an impact bowler. It’s a myth that only fast bowlers are impact players. The record over last 10 years shows spinners in top 10. And that’s why we went for Rashid, who we think can deliver,” Laxman explained.

Laughlin had a good outing in the Big Bash League (BBL) and is in the Mustafizur Rahman mould, a very good bowler in the final stages of the match, Laxman said and added Siraj and Tanmay merited selection. “Along with Milind and Ravi Kiran, Siraj and Tanmay have done well for Hyderabad and they’ve been rewarded for that. It’s also a message to players that performances will be taken into account,” he said.

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