IPL 2021: Sunrisers Hyderabad's snub of David Warner makes little sense
Not only have Sunrisers Hyderabad replaced David Warner as captain, they've also dropped him from the squad
The build-up to the match against Rajasthan Royals was characterized by plenty of confusion and speculation surrounding one man: David Warner. In a shocking announcement posted on their social media handles yesterday, Sunrisers Hyderabad confirmed that Kane Williamson will be replacing Warner as the captain of the side for the remainder of IPL 2021.
While we have seen captaincy changes in the middle of the season before, most noticeably last year when Eoin Morgan replaced Dinesh Karthik as KKR captain, the ominous tone the press release carried regarding 'making changes to the overseas slot selection' didn't seem to bode well for Warner who has been under fire lately.
Just ahead of the game tonight, Sunrisers Hyderabad dropped the bombshell – they had, in fact dropped the Australian batsman from the lineup. While speaking to the IPL studio, head coach Trevor Bayliss defended the decision by suggesting that the team wanted to get a few bowlers out of their bowling all-rounder and that is the reason why they decided to go ahead with Mohammad Nabi in place of David Warner.
"Difficult decision, big decision but we wanted to try and change the makeup of the team. Try and help our bowlers with a few extra overs from another bowler. We have gone with Nabi in this game. Someone like Jason Holder in that middle order will help our pace bowling as well. We want to stick with the same team, rather than dropping players from one or two matches," SRH coach Trevor Bayliss told broadcasters Star Sports.
Bayliss' comments confirm the hush-hush speculations that were making the rounds on social media. David Warner had fallen out of favour with the SRH team management and he's unlikely to return to the lineup soon.
There's little sense to the approach that Sunrisers Hyderabad are taking at the moment with David Warner. Sure, they've had a catastrophic season so far and one defeat from seven games at the time of writing sums up their season. While it's also true that David Warner has suffered in the first half of the season and has been far from his usual self, making him the scapegoat for the failures of the side is downright insulting to someone who has served the franchise so well over the past few years.
David Warner's exploits in the IPL
Having hit unprecedented heights with the team, both as a batsman and as a leader, David Warner is almost synonymous with SRH. It was in his second year of captaincy that Sunrisers Hyderabad won their first and only IPL title till date and the Aussie dynamite had a big hand in that victory. He scored 848 runs in the IPL that season, which included nine half-centuries in 17 innings. Only Virat Kohli has scored more runs in a single IPL campaign. He also had a strike rate of over 151 that season.
Since then, Warner has metaphorically carried the franchise on his back. He scored over 600 runs in 2017 and 2019, winning the Orange Cap in 2015, 2017 as well as 2019. Despite a poor run of form in the first half of IPL 2020, Warner turned things around and went on to score 543 runs in UAE.
Since joining SRH in 2014, Warner has guaranteed 500+ runs every year, a luxury for any team in the league. Until IPL 2020, he had also scored runs at an average well above 40 and has single-handedly won them several important games. He's also the fifth-highest scorer in the league and has scored the most runs for an overseas batsman.
In his first season as captain, David Warner and SRH finished sixth. The very next season, they were crowned champions. In 2017, they finished third in the table and while Warner missed IPL 2018 because of his role in the Australian ball-tampering controversy, he returned in 2019 and helped the side progress to the playoffs. He was reinstated as captain ahead of IPL 2020, and once again made it to the playoffs.
SRH's decision makes little sense
For much of its existence, Sunrisers Hyderabad have lacked quality Indian players and despite that, they have consistently punched above their weight thanks to one man – David Warner. The results have always been better than expected but now that things have gone south, the SRH management has no right to paint a target on Warner's back.
Even this season, Sunrisers have suffered from a dearth of prominent Indian players, especially in the middle overs and hardly have a reliable bowler to turn to except Rashid Khan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
While making Kane Williamson the captain of the side who has such a phenomenal international record isn't a problematic decision at all, the manner in which they went about it definitely is. For someone who has carried the franchise on his back for years, the lack of gratitude on behalf of the team management has been disgraceful and to drop him from the lineup is nothing short of ridiculous.
In the Indian Premier League, success has quite often come to those sides who have stuck with their players and have managed to assemble a strong core that can deliver. Even during their rough patches, the importance of the team backing the senior players cannot be understated. In IPL 2021, Sunrisers Hyderabad have seemed to throw any kind of common sense out of the window in an attempt to seek fool's gold.