Mumbai: Sunrisers Hyderabad have begun their Season 9 IPL campaign on an iffy note. With just the lone win from three games, the David Warner-led side seem to be facing a major batting crisis with only the skipper providing the firepower to the Eagles. Warner’s partner Shikhar Dhawan too has failed with meagre scores of 2, 6 and 8.
However, former Australia cricketer and SRH coach Tom Moody understands his side hasn’t kicked off the tournament all guns blazing, but asserts how important Dhawan finding form adds to a formidable top order. In a chat with this correspondent, Moody, who previously coached Sri Lanka, talks about Hyderabad’s pace jewel Mustafizur Rahman, challenges Indian pacers face in the sub-continent and his favourite all-rounders in the shortest format of the game.
Excerpts from the interview…
Your next opponents Gujarat Lions have won all their three games. Is there pressure on Sunrisers to carry on with the winning momentum?
There’s pressure in any game we play, whether it’s against a side that is on a bit of a roll with a few wins. Every game in the IPL is important. It’s important to try and secure a win in every opportunity you get. We’re taking a lot of confidence into tomorrow’s match regardless of the form Gujarat have had.
Barring David Warner, none of the batsmen seem to have offered some sort of resistance to opposition bowling. Shikhar Dhawan also has failed to connect? Does that leave you in a spot of bother as a coach?
No. David Warner has been the standout performer but you also got to consider the other contributions from other players. Warner is one player who does it all from a team perspective. There are partnerships, there was a 65-run partnership between David and Moises Henriques (62 runs against Mumbai Indians). We also had Naman Ojha step up and play an important partnership with Eoin Morgan (67 runs against KKR). Yeah, we haven’t got all our guns blazing but the important thing is that we are slowing piecing it together and when anyone does find that form we will have a formidable top order.
Yes, Shikhar hasn’t fired yet. We are fully aware of that. He came into the tournament with a couple of small totals as well. He is a key to turn that around. He has got to find that form, that match-winning form and we have got confidence that he can do that.
What do the batsmen need to do to buck up in the coming games?
It boils down to making sure the practice is done, which is a given where everyone is committed to, and then to go out there and trust your instincts and your game. T20 is such a ruthless format for anyone, bat or ball and backing or constructing your own game, it’s always going to be against you.
Can you throw some light on how Mustafizur Rahman forms a vital cog in the Sunrisers wheel?
Mustafizur has bowled really well up to this point. We saw a very serious bidding to procure him in the auctions. I think people have recognised why we were keen to secure him. He is a class bowler, got a unique slow ball, a very good yorker and has enough pace to trouble more batsmen. He has got all the ingredients to ask enough questions in short-form cricket.
Are his yorkers one of the best you’ve seen in your career?
It’s a very good one. I’m not going to make a statement that it’s the very best, probably one of the good ones. He has bowled a couple of very good ones in this tournament. But Malinga (Lasith Malinga) has been doing that for 10 years.
After being associated with Sunrisers, you’ve come across many young talents from India. In which area do you feel India has a stronghold as far as their bench strength is concerned? Why?
India has got particularly very good batsmen and this generation is no exception, the likes of Virat Kohli is leading the charge by what he is showing in all forms of cricket. He has the talent to bat. Also, there is a healthy depth of fast bowling in Indian ranks, probably as good as what it has been for many years. The challenge for fast bowlers here is that they are playing majority of their Test match cricket, here in India, on slow turning surfaces. They don’t get the benefit like what Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Dale Steyn or Morne Morkel get who play on their home surfaces. Indian bowlers get to bowl a majority of their overs on challenging Indian surfaces but there is some quality depth in fast bowling as well.
Virat Kohli has been Indian’s run-machine lately. Can you share your thoughts on Kohli?
Virat Kohli is an eye-catching player. It doesn’t matter where do you come from in the world of cricket, you can’t help but enjoy what he does at the crease. Australians have appreciated and admired what he is capable of doing. Kohli is got that smart determined character that’s admired by many.
You being an all-rounder, who do you think is one of the best all-rounders in the shortest format of the game today?
Shane Watson and Andre Russell. They have the ability of having a match-winning impact both with bat and ball.
The BCCI is currently on the hunt for a new coach. Has VVS Laxman ever spoken to you about a coaching stint at Indian camp?
No, it’s not something we really discuss. I’m aware that there’s talk about hunting a new coach for India. I am formerly a coach but I’ve got little comment on this.
Australia has not emerged as a threatening force in T20 as compared to their form in ODIs and Tests. Where do you think the team is lacking in the shortest format?
You’ve hit the nail on the head by using the word team. We have got a lot of individuals who have played the game exceptionally well. Australia have a very strong tournament in the Big Bash League, but very few of our international players play in it. It overlaps the Test calendar, the Boxing Day Test and the Sydney Test so they get very little exposure. The only exposure the likes of Smith, Warner and company get is in the IPL.