Former cricketer-turned-commentator Aakash Chopra has picked Sunrisers Hyderabad’s ideal playing XI for IPL 2021. The fourteenth edition of the tournament is scheduled to start on April 9 with a clash between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore in Chennai. SRH, on the other hand, will open their campaign on April 11 against two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders.
SRH are eyeing their first IPL title since winning their inaugural one in 2016. The Hyderabad-based outfit came close to winning it in 2018 but lost to CSK in the final. Last year, the David Warner-led side made it to the playoffs where they lost to eventual runners-up Delhi Capitals in the second qualifier. SRH have a strong team for IPL 2021 and are definitely capable of going far in the competition.
And as they gear up to start their season, Chopra has predicted their ideal playing XI. The former India opener started by admitting that it was a tough ask to choose SRH’s opening combination. He then opted for Wriddhiman Saha to partner David Warner at the top of the order for the former’s fine performance with the bat last year.
“It is a difficult task to pick their ideal XI. It is not the case always but this time it is difficult. Who will open with Warner? I will say to make Saha open because he batted brilliantly last year as well and he will have the fire burning in the belly that he needs to do something. And he is selfless, he is absolutely a team player,” said Aakash Chopra in the video posted on his YouTube channel.
SRH’s playing eleven
For the middle-order, Aakash Chopra picked Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav for the 3rd, 4th and 5th spot respectively. For the sixth spot, Chopra opined that SRH have multiple choices and could pick one from Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma and Abdul Samad. He also mentioned Virat Singh as another option.
“Kane Williamson at No.3, Manish Pandey at No.4, you have Kedar Jadhav at No.5. At six, you have got multiple choices. You can play either of Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma or Abdul Samad. You can get one or two overs apart from the batting. They have Virat Singh as well, they have got plenty of options,” said Chopra.
In the bowling department, Chopra started by picking Afghanistan duo Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi. Explaining the reason behind picking two spinners and leaving out fast-bowling all-rounder Jason Holder, Chopra said that SRH would play their first few games in Chennai and Delhi and those venues will assist spinners. He completed his prediction by picking three fast-bowlers in the team.
“At seven and eight, I will have Rashid and Nabi because you are playing your first few encounters in Chennai and then Delhi. So spin will be of use in both these places. So there might not be a place for Jason Holder. Rashid and Nabi are four-over banks and can hit the long ball,” said Chopra.
“Then you need to play three fast bowlers. So there you play Bhuvi, Natarajan and Sandeep Sharma. Sandeep Sharma will bowl in the powerplay overs, Natarajan will bowl in the death overs, Bhuvi will bowl in both these phases of the game. I mean this looks like a good side to me,” concluded Chopra.