Kane Williamson has been struggling with injury for a while and has not played any competitive cricket for the last four months. But the New Zealand captain is all set to return to action with the Indian Premier League next week.
Williamson will be leading the Sunrisers Hyderabad and is one of the key players of the side that finished at the bottom of the table last season. SRH head coach Tom Moody is optimistic about Williamson’s comeback.
“Kane has been hitting the ball for over a month. And, he’s excited to get back into matches. He was hoping to play a little bit earlier, then he was restricted by the medical team in New Zealand. But I think the long term plan is probably the safer way to go for his longevity. So he’s feeling very confident with his recovery,” Moody told Sportstar.
“It’s more the longer form cricket that aggravates the elbow more than the shorter form cricket, so we don’t anticipate him having any major issues with regards to his elbow. But like any player in the tournament, anyone can get injured at any time. And you’ve got to have backup plans and we feel that we’ve got the necessary players that can fill in, in his role and one player to give an example is Aiden Markram,” Moody, a seasoned coach, said.
“He (Markram) is a quality top-order player, but whether he starts in our playing eleven or not, to begin with, we haven’t made those final decisions, but we know that certainly, he’s someone that is quality that can come in if we do have any issues with the top-order…”
Williamson reached Mumbai late on Tuesday and has joined the Sunrisers bio-bubble.
After a debacle last season, Sunrisers retained only three players before the auction – Williamson, Abdul Samad and Umran Malik. But in the auction, the franchise managed to bring back Bhuvneshwar Kumar and T. Natarajan. “I’m pretty happy with the bowling department. We have got a lot of versatility with that, and we’ve got the experience. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is a vastly experienced IPL and international cricketer. And I still think he’s got a lot of good cricket ahead of him. He’s only in his early 30s. He’s been bowling well recently for India. So he’s still clearly in the Indian selectors’ eyes with regards to his capabilities,” Moody said.
“He is one of those unique bowlers as well who is not only a dynamic Powerplay bowler, but he’s also a very good finisher. He is a very good death bowler. So, he’s, still a very, very strong bowling option for us…”
Natarajan, too, returns to action from a long injury lay-off. “Natarajan has just come back from injury. We only have to cast our minds back 12 months ago and he was one of the hottest properties in Indian cricket because it was earlier seen that only Bumrah and Bhuvi could bowl effectively at the death but Natarajan is a unique bowler,” Moody said.
“He possesses a unique skill. We’re trusting the process of his recovery and he’s been bowling at full speed for some time now. So, he has a point to prove as well. He is still not the oldest when it comes to his bowling as a fast bowler and he offers a unique skill. So as a left-arm pacer, he’s handy for us…”
The team also roped in Marco Jansen, and the head coach is excited about it. “He is a very exciting young left-arm quick that has a point of difference. He is six foot eight and gets the steep bounce, which is something that a lot of Indian players aren’t used to. So, we like the long term prospect and the immediate prospect that he offers us as a strike bowler and he also has the capabilities of developing into an all-rounder because he can bat. So, we feel we got a lot of bases covered,” Moody said.
Talking about the roping in Washington Sundar, Moody said: “We thought Washington also possesses a unique skill as a Powerplay spin bowler and I think it’s important that you’ve got that base covered and he does that exceptionally well, not only in IPL cricket but for India.”
“His batting is also something that is only going to get better and better. So, he was an important fit for our strategy. So I feel there are many areas we’ve got covered, and we’ve got the raw pace of Malik and Kartik Tyagi.”
Sunrisers Hyderabad begins its campaign against Rajasthan Royals in Pune on March 29.