As they prepared to take on Kings XI Punjab at Mohali, Sunrisers’ mentor, VVS Laxman maintained that their bowling attack is still capable of invoking fear among the opposition.
“You hurt when you lose a game like that (loss to CSK by 77 runs) and we did too. We were really disappointed to lose so heavily against CSK. But it’s important to learn and move forward,” Laxman said. “But still, whichever team we play against, knows the strength of our bowling and respect our attack.”
While, barring that last aberration, SRH’s bowling has been pretty settled, their real concern right though the tournament has been the lack of big scores from their batsmen. Admitting that the team depends a lot on Shikhar Dhawan, Laxman urged senior batsmen like Kumar Sangakkaraand Cameron White to get among some runs at this, the crucial last phase of the league stage.
“There’s no doubt that Shikhar is our premier batsman, given the form and the confidence he has,” Laxman said. “In saying that, we have other batsmen who are talented and have done well. Shikhar wasn’t there for the first few games and a lot of youngsters like Hanuma Vihari, Akshath Reddy did well.
“But we would love to do much better as a batting unit and especially for our experienced batsmen like Sangakkara and White to show some form, which they haven’t so far. The remaining five league games are very important in terms of the tournament and if they get some runs we will be able to post huge totals,” the Indian batting legend said.
Like most teams in the tournament, the SRH have been more formidable at home than away. Five of their seven wins have come in Hyderabad. Laxman said most of the five away losses were close games and that the defeats weren’t for the lack of skill or effort.
“We’ve lost some close games away. We won two good ones in Pune and Delhi. In Chennai (MS) Dhoni played that fantastic knock and took the game away from us. In Jaipur it was Shane Watson who did so. In Bangalore we were outdone by Virat’s (Kohli) innings. Besides the individual brilliance, we were in control of the game. So, overall we’re quite pleased with the way we have traveled and we haven’t underperformed as such. The exceptions were the game in Kolkata where we didn’t play to our potential,’ he said.
Although Laxman is with SRH as the team mentor, the temptation of picking the brain of one of the greatest Indian batsmen would be irresistible for the youngsters in the camp. Laxman said he does talk to the batsmen in terms of their game but doesn’t believe in forcing his views on them.
“It’s been very exciting working with this group. The current crops of players are very receptive to suggestions. Right since my playing days as a senior member I have always had discussions with the young batsmen in the team.
“In IPL it’s more about talking to them about the mental aspect of the game rather than the technical stuff. A lot of the talk is about how to approach and play in a certain situation. It’s not about forcing your ideas on the players but having healthy discussions.
If those talks help them find a solution to any of their problems, it’s great,” he said. The recently retired Indian batsman had some fine words to say about his fellow Hyderabadi and one of the finds of this IPL, Hanuma Vihari.
“The most important quality for a young player to have is how quickly he learns, and Vihari is very good in that respect. Prior to this IPL he didn’t have much T20 experience but from the first game till now, he has improved a lot. His strengths are his temperament and his basic technique. Once you have these qualities you can succeed in any format.
The IPL is a good learning phase for Vihari and I’m sure he will lap it up to improve his game,” Laxman said.