Hyderabad: Sunrisers Hyderabad, who made it to the last four on their Indian Premier League (IPL) debut last year, are confident of an even better showing in the seventh season of the T20 tournament, beginning in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) April 16.
The Hyderabad franchise owned by the Sun TV group is bullish about its prospects as it not only retained the last year's core team but also acquired batsmen David Warner and Aaron Finch and bowler Irfan Pathan in the auction.
To be led by Shikhar Dhawan, the team is looking to improve its performance further in this year's tournament, which will be partly played in the UAE and India.
Chief coach Tom Moody and mentors K. Srikkanth and V.V.S. Laxman were upbeat about the team's prospects. Interacting with the media along with some players here Friday, they exuded confidence of a successful campaign.
"Obviously, we had a good campaign last year, given that it was our first IPL as Sunrisers Hyderabad. This year we feel confident. We feel we have the strongest side but we have got total respect for the competition because we know every side has match winners," said Moody.
"We feel we have got a very good balance in our team that allows us to adapt to any conditions," he added.
The chief coach said the brand of cricket played by the team last year was acknowledged not only by its supporters but admired by the teams in the competition. He, however, said having big names alone was not enough.
"What is relevant is the attitude in the tournament and in every single match. Every individual's record is one thing and the way the team plays is another thing," said the Aussie.
Moody said they were confident of having a lot of experience and leadership quality in the team. He believes that Darren Sammy as the vice-captain will have a key role on the field. He pointed out that players like Warner and Finch also had captaincy experience while the team will also be looking to leadership role from players like Irfan Pathan.
Srikkanth described Sunrisers as a balanced side. "The team is well prepared. We have retained core players like Shikhar Dhawan, Ishant Sharma, Karan Sharma, Amit Sharma, Darren Sammy and Dale Steyn. This is very important. Last year we gelled well and did well in the IPL," he said. The former Indian opener believes it would be a well fought tournament as all eight teams have good players.
He said playing in two different countries would not be difficult as the conditions in the UAE were similar to India. "We expect the UAE wicket to be slower and probably on the turning side. I don't think there is going to be a big change in wicket conditions and weather conditions too," he said
Laxman said this year's additions had made the team stronger. "We have added amazing skillful players like Warner who is a most destructive batsman in T20. We have bowlers like Irfan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Last year pure attitude and fighting spirit won crucial games and we will continue the same spirit this year," he said.