The controversial ball-tampering saga is getting bigger day-by-day, it has not just caught the attention of Australian fans but also of the cricket fans worldwide. The disgraced trio of Australia captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and opener Cameron Bancroft have been banned by Cricket Australia following their involvement in the scandal in the Cape Town Test against South Africa.
Following the footsteps of skipper Smith who stepped down as the leader of the Rajasthan Royals for the 11th edition of IPL, Warner has also decided to step down as captain of the Sunrisers Hyderabad for the T20 extravaganza which begins on April 7. Warner was recently stripped off the vice-captaincy of the Australian side after the infamous ball tampering incident broke out. Warner had previously led Hyderabad to the IPL title in 2016 while ending up as the highest run-getter in the 2015 and 2017 editions of the cash-rich tournament.
The left-hander is the tournament's all-time fifth-highest run-scorer and the most prolific overseas batsman in the competition's 10-year history.
Here we take a look at the probable candidates who could replace David Warner as the captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad:
Shikhar Dhawan -
With the countdown already begun for the cash-rich T20 league, India opener Shikhar Dhawan has been tipped as the front-runner to the job of replacing Warner as the captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad. Dhawan was retained by the Sunrisers Hyderabad ahead of the auctions and is expected to form a formidable opening partnership with David Warner.
The Delhi-born batsman has scored 3561 runs from 127 IPL games which makes him one of the top performers in the tournament. Dhawan's experience at the top level, along with his previous association with the Hyderabad franchise also make him a possible replacement for captain Warner.
Kane Williamson -
The New Zealand skipper is another solid candidate who can replace Warner as the leader of the Orange Army. For many, Williamson is an ideal and the first-choice replacement for Warner. With a wealth of international experience under his belt, the 27-year old has a steady head on his shoulders and can lead the team with an example on the field. In the 15 matches he has played so far, Williamson has scored 411 runs at a strike rate of 130. He was particularly impressive the last edition in which he notched up 256 runs in 7 games at a strike rate of 151.
Shakib-Al Hasan -
Rated highly for his all-round skills, Shakib Al Hasan is a class act both with the bat and bowl. After playing for Kolkata Knight Riders in the previous edition, the Bangladesh all-rounder is currently the world’s best Test and ODI all-rounder, and third best in T20Is. His wealth of experience, both at the IPL and international level makes Shakib one of the front-runners for the possible vacant post. The 31-year old has scored 498 runs in 43 matches at a strike rate of 130.36. He has also picked up 43 wickets in as many number of matches.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar -
India's premier pacer - Bhuvneshwar Kumar is another top contender for the post of Hyderabad captain in the upcoming edition of lucrative T20 league. One of the most consistent performers for Sunrisers - the 28-year old pacer has been the go-to man for the franchise at the start of the innings and has been mighty impressive at the death as well.
Interestingly, Bhuvneshwar had also won the prestigious Purple Cap (most wickets in a single season) in the last two editions of the IPL - 2016 (23 wickets) and 2017 (26 wickets). Presently, seen as the leader of the Indian bowling attack, the Hyderabad think-tank may think that this is the perfect time to hand over the leadership reigns to the Meerut-born pacer.