SRH's Road To IPL 2024: Can Pat Cummins Revive Orange Army's Fortunes After Winning Everything In 2023?

SRH's Road To IPL 2024: Can Pat Cummins Revive Orange Army's Fortunes After Winning Everything In 2023?

SunRisers Hyderabad have finished in the bottom half of the table in the last three seasons.

Aayushman VishwanathanUpdated: Saturday, March 16, 2024, 04:13 PM IST
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Pat Cummins will lead SRH in 2023. | (Credits: Twitter)

SunRisers Hyderabad have often pulled above their weight, but have also endured a forgettable last three seasons, finishing in the bottom half of the points table. While individual performances have been aplenty, the Orange Army haven't stood up collectively, while the big-ticket players have ceased to justify their lofty price tags.

It's an issue that could yet again chase them in the 2024 edition as the auction in December saw the SunRisers pouch Australia's two World Cup-winning members for a sum of well over ₹25 crore. Travis Head, who blazed away a match-winning hundred in the World Cup final against India, went for ₹6.8 crore - a slightly underwhelming price than expected.

However, it was his captain on the night, Pat Cummins, whose price surging up to ₹20.25 crore became a massive talking point even as it did not matter that his fellow countryman Mitchell Starc shattered his record to become the costliest player in the auction history. Experts' eyebrows went two steps above Cummins' price in the auction as they doubt if the 30-year-old deserves that big a money, given his inconsistent IPL outings in the past.

An added responsibility of captaincy after Aiden Markram's failure to turn things around in his two years of tenure has put further pressure on Cummins after a dreamy 2023. While as captain it makes him undroppable, but what are the chances Cummins is likely to play all the matches, given the T20 World Cup 2024 also looms.

SunRisers Hyderabad's overseas players' conundrum:

From Travis Head to Pat Cummins, Wanindu Hasaranga, Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, Glenn Phillips, and Marco Jansen - the SunRisers are clearly spoilt for choices when it comes to overseas stars. Travis Head looks to have his spot fixed, given the SunRisers need an aggressive opener at the top.

While Cummins' captaincy also makes his spot fixed, it could rob the Orange Army of an incisive new-ball bowler in Marco Jansen. Jansen took 17 matches across 16 matches in the last two editions. To start the season, the harshest of the omissions could be of Markram, given the power-hitting arsenal Klaasen brings in with him, while Wanindu Hasaranga could get the nod ahead of Glenn Phillips.

The Indian players to watch out for:

The likes of Mayank Agarwal and Rahul Tripathi must pull the weight, given they are relatively experienced and have played at the highest level. Bhuvneshwar Kumar arguably starts as the leader of the seam attack despite Cummins and Jansen's presence. Focus will also be on Natarajan and Washington Sundar after the former put on an underwhelming show in the 2023 edition and the latter missed over half of it due to an injury.

A good season from either of them should propel them into the mix-up in the T20 World Cup 2024 selection.

It also remains to be seen what can Umran Malik extract out of this season.

All in all, it's Cummins' who will be most under focus and whether he can turn around the SunRisers' fortunes. The 2016 champions will open their campaign against the Kolkata Knight Riders on March 23rd.

Probable playing XI for 1st match: Mayank Agarwal, Travis Head, Rahul Tripathi, Amolpreet Singh, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Nitish Kumar Reddy, Wanindu Hasaranga, Washington Sundar, Pat Cummins (c), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T Natarajan, Umran Malik

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