Sunrisers Hyderabad head coach Trevor Bayliss on Sunday revealed why Kane Williamson missed the franchise's IPL 2021 opener against Kolkata Knight Riders at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. The New Zealand skipper would have been a perfect fit for SRH's middle-order hence solving their long-standing issue pertaining to that portion of the batting lineup.
SRH played Jonny Bairstow as their No.4 who did score a half-century in the game, but in a losing cause. "We just felt that Kane needed a little bit of extra time to get match fit and a little bit more time in the nets," Bayliss said after the game. "He would have played in place of Jonny Bairstow obviously if that had occurred. But we aren't too perturbed about that, Jonny has been in form recently in white-ball cricket here in India. Kane will obviously come into calculations as the tournament unfolds."
Bairstow has long been an opener in the limited-overs format across teams. For SRH, the Bairstow-Warner partnership broke a plethora of records in the 2019 edition of the tournament, but in search of batting depth, the franchise were forced to take a different route, as it has happened for England as well. Bairstow has since shown adaptability in the middle order in the T20 format for both teams.
"At the moment what we wanted to do is reward the guys who finished the tournament last year," Bayliss noted. "We got off to a slow start last tournament but came back well to reach the finals (playoffs). Someone like Saha opening and batting so well in that tournament we felt we should reward the guys who finished it so well for us last year.
"Depending on fitness and form, we know Jonny can open the batting and keep as well. It gives us options but yes he has done well for England at number 4 recently."
Bayliss also clarified why SRH sent Vijay Shankar ahead of Abdul Samad during their 188-run chase in Chennai. Shankar, who had a death over T20 strike rate of 150, scored 11 off 7 with just one boundary. Young Samad, who had recorded a death over strike rate of 165.9 last season with a boundary rate of a tad under 5, scored 19 off 8 with two boundaries last night.
"Vijay in our practice matches that we had a few days ago was our best player," Bayliss recalled. "He struck the ball beautifully and made 95 in one of the games, hit a lot of the balls long way over the fence. It's always difficult in those situations whenever you go in you have to go pretty much from the first ball you face.
"Samad in a short space of time last IPL and this one has shown that he has a lot of talent and is a clean striker of the ball. I think as he gets more experience, he will get more opportunities," he added.