With the 11th edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) fast approaching, Sunrisers Hyderabad’s vice-captain Bhuvneshwar Kumar has analyzed the strength of his side that will take the field without the services of their inspirational leader – David Warner.
The swashbuckling Aussie opener has been suspended by Cricket Australia (CA) for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal that rocked the entire cricketing fraternity on the third day of the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town.
Following the decision of Cricket Australia, the BCCI also barred Warner and former Australia skipper Steve Smith from participating in the cash-rich league's 11th season. It is worth mentioning here that Warner has led SRH to IPL triumph in 2016 besides being the highest run-getter last season.
"Of course, we will miss him (Warner)," Bhuvneshwar told Mail Today.
"A batsman like him can single-handedly win you matches. You always want someone like him and he was playing so well as a batsman and as a captain. His replacement (Alex Hales) is also good but it will not be easy to fill his shoes," he further added.
Warner's absence meant additional responsibility on Bhuvi's shoulders but the 28-year-old pacer is under no pressure. Kumar is optimistic that the newly appointed skipper Kane Williamson can lead the team to glory once again.
"He's a superb captain. We know how good he has been for New Zealand in the past few years. He is a calm guy and knows what he is doing as a skipper. Last season, he helped Warner a lot. The management gave him the opportunity and everyone trusts him, so I am sure he'll do a good job," he opined.
Bhuvneshwar’s performance in the IPL over the last two years has been extraordinary, to say the least. While Bhuvi was the purple cap winner in 2017 season with 26 scalps, he had claimed 23 wickets in IPL 2016.
Having made his international debut back in 2012, Bhuvneshwar has evolved as a phenomenal death bowler. He was instrumental in India’s limited-overs series win in South Africa recently.
"First thing, I am happy that I made a lot of improvement since my debut till now. I am quite different to what I was four-five years back, particularly when it comes to limited-overs cricket. My bowling has changed, especially in the last two years, my pace has improved and my swing is still there. So yes, I am quite satisfied with the progress," he elaborated.
In IPL 2018, SRH have the Indian bowling talents like Basil Thampi, T Natarajan and Siddharth Kaul at their disposal and they will be helped by overseas players such as Carlos Braithwaite, Chris Jordan, Shakib-Al-Hasan and Rashid Khan. No wonder, Bhuvi feels that the 2016 champions have a balanced side despite their inspirational captain’s absence.
"We have a good squad. Of course, everybody is talking about our pace attack. But we also have good spinners, Rashid, Shakib (Al Hasan), and we can't forget about the all-rounders. I think it's a balanced side. We can't just go into every match thinking bowlers will do the job, we have good batsmen who can put runs on the board. The strategy will be decided this week and hopefully, we can work our way to the top," Bhuvneshwar Kumar concluded.