“I’m no longer part of that process, I don’t know what their thinking was” – Warner © AFP
Australian opener David Warner has revealed that he is no longer part of the decision-making process at Sunrisers Hyderabad. Warner, who led Sunrisers to their maiden IPL title in 2016, didn’t feature in last year’s tournament as a result of the ball-tampering controversy. In his absence, Kane Williamson led the side to the runners-up position last year and has continued to be at the helm despite Warner returning this year.
Even in Williamson’s absence, Sunrisers have handed over the reigns to Indian pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar instead of going back to Warner. The 32-year-old, who has been in blazing form with the bat this season scoring 400 runs already in seven games, saw his side let go of an opportunity to register their fourth win. Chasing a modest 156 for victory, Sunrisers lost their last eight wickets for just 15 runs, the worst eight-wicket collapse in IPL history, to lose their third successive game this season.
One of the talking points around this game revolved on the number of changes Sunrisers made. Apart from Williamson replacing Mohammed Nabi, the home side also made three other changes that saw experienced campaigners Yusuf Pathan and Manish Pandey getting the axe. In their place, Ricky Bhui and Abhishek Sharma failed to fire with the bat. While Bhui made only 7 off 12 deliveries in his torrid little stay, Abhishek was dismissed by Chris Morris for a 3-ball 2.
While something had to change in order to give the misfiring middle-order a new-look, perhaps Sunrisers went a step ahead by axing two senior players at the same time instead of just one. Speaking after the game, Warner revealed that it was a decision taken by the team management, which he is no longer part of. “I don’t like hindsight,” Warner said when asked if it was one change too many. “Today, there was a decision that they (the team management) made. I’m no longer part of that process, I don’t know what their thinking was – but when you lose that experience in the middle, it can be quite challenging and quite difficult for the new guys that come in. But there is no excuses – we got off to a good start, we didn’t capitalise on those middle periods, there were a lot of ones, not many twos, they shut down the boundaries well and they bowled very well. We just missed a couple of opportunities to hit boundaries through that middle period.”
The demoralising loss once again highlighted how dependent Sunrisers actually are on their openers. Jonny Bairstow and Warner delivered once again at the top of the order and ensured their side didn’t lose a wicket in the powerplay. Even when Bairstow was dismissed in the 10th over, the home side were almost halfway through the chase. But after initially getting outfoxed by Keemo Paul’s back of the hand slower deliveries, they stuttered to crumble as the required rate also kept climbing.
Warner himself played uncharacteristic innings taking 47 balls for his 51 whereas Bhui, playing his first game this season, added more pressure with a few dot balls. “We got off to a good start, again, without losing a wicket,” Warner observed. “You look at the overs between seven and 13, we had a fair few dots, we didn’t find too many boundaries, and from that position we were in, you should be chasing, I think it was ten an over, 11 an over towards the back end. I think we probably didn’t utilise those middle periods as well as we’d like.
“We’re generally pretty good running between the wickets, but we failed to just hit that boundary. And again, we lost wickets after a start, which is disappointing. I take responsibility as well, as an in batsman, you try and be there at the end. Unfortunate that that’s the way I play, I tried to look for a boundary but I was unlucky.”