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Shirin Sadikot in Chennai 24 April 2013 - 08:19pm IST

Shikhar to play against CSK: Srikkanth

Team mentor says team’s never-give-up attitude a big plus

Sunrisers Hyderabad’s bowling attack has been one of the success stories of IPL 2013. Powered by Dale Steyn and revved on by Amit Mishra, they have helped the team win five of their first seven matches. Batting, however, has been found wanting, with a solitary 150-plus score to show.

As they gear up for a tough away game, against the
Chennai Super Kings, Sunrisers have to lift their batting bar to a significant extent. The timing, hence, is perfect for Shikhar Dhawan to enter.

The Delhi batsman who scored a mindboggling 187 on Test debut against Australia, has recovered from his hand injury and will take the field against CSK at the Chepauk, confirmed SRH team mentor, Krishnamachari Srikkanth.

“The good news is that Shikhar Dhawan is back into action and he will be playing his first game of this season tomorrow,” Srikkanth said. “That should be a great boost to our batting. We have been a bit behind in our batting but with Dhawan in, we will be reasonably well sorted out.”

While admitting the team’s batting woes, the former India captain reasoned it with the fact that the side is packed with young Indian domestic players. Naming a few fringe players who have delivered for SRH so far, Srikkanth said the franchise’s aim is to promote young blood.

“We have to understand that it is a team that consists of a lot of youngsters and new faces. In the (2013 IPL Player) auction our mindset was to pick the team for the future and promote the youngsters. It has worked so far.

“Look at Hanuma Vihari, an unknown candidate who has already won two man-of-the-match awards. We also have the likes of Ashish Reddy who comes and wins matches in the end, and Akshath Reddy who has done well in a couple of games as well.”

A flamboyant opening batsman in his own time, Srikkanth was particularly open in his admiration for the 20-year-old South African opener, Quinton de Kock. In the team replacing Kumar Sangakkara, the wicketkeeper-batsman scored 2 and 0 in the two matched he’s played so far. But the team mentor made it clear that the management will give him enough chances to fail.

“He will continue to play,” Srikkanth said. “de Kock is a 20-year-old boy who had a brilliant season in South Africa. You’ve got to give him enough time. He’s played just two games and in the last game he got a ball that literally rolled over on the ground. To say that he hasn’t performed well after just two games is very unfair. I think Quinton de Kock is a swashbuckling opening batsman and we know he will come good.”

While the batting as a unit hasn’t clicked so far, it is not a big cause of concern for Srikkanth as long as the team is winning. “As of now we’re very happy with what has happened. We may not have got big runs but we have won five matches. At the end of the day it’s the number of matches that you’re winning is what matters,” he said.

For Srikkanth, the most significant factor in SRH’s fine form and as a team is their never-give-up attitude. He recalled the team’s 11-run win over the Pune Warriors India, defending a low 119.

“The biggest positive for us is the knowledge that we can successfully defend even a small total of 119. That fighting spirit in the team is the biggest plus. We haven’t given away a single match for lack of fight. We don’t give up.”

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