2016 champions Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) had a disastrous 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The Orange army failed to give a proper account of themselves in both the Indian and the UAE legs of the tournament, shockingly winning just 3 of their 14 league matches.
SRH finished bottom of the eight-team IPL 2021 points table after following a woeful first half of the competition with a poor second leg in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
SRH were never considered one of the favourites for the tournament. But still, their fans would’ve expected a better campaign, since they had made the playoffs successively in the previous editions of the IPL. However, what we witnessed was a free-fall of a side that has been in desperate need of a revamp for some time now.
With both departments failing, it would be difficult for the SRH think-tank to be sure of the players and resources that they must keep intact. But even in a gloomy season, there were a few positives and individuals who are expected to hold the franchise in good stead if retained ahead of the IPL 2022 mega auction.
3 Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) players who should be retained
1. Rashid Khan
Rashid had an outstanding season with the ball. In complete contrast to his team’s fortunes, the Afghanistan wristspinner performed exceptionally well throughout IPL 2021. Rashid ended with 18 wickets to his name from 14 league games with an economy rate of only 6.69. He was SRH’s four-over bank. Among those who played at least 10 games, Rashid was the most economical bowler on show for his team, plus their top wicket-taker.
Overall, since his debut IPL season back in 2018, Rashid has picked up a whopping 93 wickets from his 76 outings while maintaining an economy rate of just 6.33. He is already one of the greats of IPL cricket, who definitely should be retained if SRH want to be more competitive next year.
2. Jonny Bairstow
An area that Sunrisers Hyderabad failed to plug right through the second half of the IPL 2021 was their opening slot. With David Warner struggling and Wriddhiman Saha failing to provide them quick starts, SRH badly missed a freeflowing opener with the bat. They had one such opener in the first half of the season in Bairstow, the aggressive England right-hander, who had a strike-rate of 141.71 while averaging 41.33 in his seven outings.
Bairstow was magnificent for SRH on neutral venues in challenging conditions in India. Him missing the UAE leg to avoid bio-bubble fatigue ahead of the T20 World Cup was a massive blow to SRH’s chances. But with a terrific first half, and the excellent work done in the previous seasons, Bairstow has surely earned himself a retention.
3. Kane Williamson
With Warner in decline, Sunrisers Hyderabad made a controversial but quite a proactive and brave move to sack him as captain and player and reinstated Williamson at the captaincy post. And though things didn’t go well for them even after that, hardly anybody can doubt that the right man to lead SRH going forward is indeed Williamson.
SRH fans will have happy memories of the 2018 season when Williamson led the team from the front in Warner’s forced absence. The Kiwi batting giant scored 735 runs at an average of 52.50 with a strike-rate of 142.44 and took his team to the final where they lost to Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
This year, an elbow injury held Williamson back as he had a strike-rate of just 113.19, but he still averaged 44.33 for 266 runs over 10 innings. Williamson should be retained by SRH as captain and middle-order player ahead of the next year’s mega auction.