The absence of superstars, they reckon, makes it a team of equals and the team environment better. "Our team is not driven by superstar culture. We want every player to give their best shot for the team," said mentor VVS Laxman on Wednesday, when the Sunrisers unveiled their latest acquisitions — Jonny Bairstow, Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma and Shahbaz Nadeem.
Laxman also underlined the team ability to clinch close contests — a quality that held them in good stead as they finished runners-up to Chennai Super Kings in the 2018 edition of the league.
Bolstered by the arrival of their overseas players — New Zealander Martin Guptill and England’s Bairstow — Laxman said SRH have got a more more balanced team compared to last time.
All-rounder Shankar, Abhishek and left-arm spinner Nadeem, who SRH got in exchange for Shikhar Dhawan from Delhi Capitals, have further strengthened the team, Laxman felt.
Speaking about Dhawan’s decision to move to Delhi, Laxman conceded that the opener was unhappy with the money he was getting at SRH. "Dhawan was our second top scorer (497 runs) last year. We wish him good luck," Laxman said. Kane Williamson had topped the batting charts for SRH with 735 runs.
Head coach Tom Moody said the Sunrisers will continue with the same set-up as last year, which means Williamson will be the captain and Bhuvneshwar Kumar his deputy. "Kane is an outstanding batsman and also a highly respected international player. He has stepped in for us last year and has shown good leadership qualities," he said and added that SRH have several players with leadership ability like Australian David Warner, Shakib ul Hasan of Bangladesh and Manish Pandey, who led Karnataka to victory in the recent Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament."
Speaking about former captain Warner, who makes a comeback after his ban for involvement in the ball-tampering fiasco, Laxman said, "We are very proud of what Warner has achieved for the Sunrisers. He's one of our premier batsman. Personally, I felt the punishment was not right since I have seen him from close quarters. I am sure that he would continue to contribute for Sunrisers," Laxman said.