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No replacement for Hazlewood? Billy Stanlake, Reece Topley reject offers from CSK

The Chennai Super Kings management approached Australian quick Billy Stanlake and England left-arm pacer Reece Topley with an offer to join the franchise as Josh Hazlewood’s replacement for the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League. But both the pacers, who have running contracts with County sides have reportedly rejected the offer. 

“Many of them have contracts with English county teams and the permissions aren't forthcoming due to the rising number of Covid cases. We may have to go for a wildcard and may get one soon enough. But the problems do persist," a source close to the developments in CSK was quoted as saying by TOI. 

While 26-year-old Queenslander, Stanlake, signed for Derbyshire in March 2021, Topley is a Hampshire member. Both counties couldn’t risk letting go of their star bowlers in a situation that is getting precariously scary with the rising Covid-19 cases in India. 

Hazlewood, 30, had pulled out of the showpiece T20 event in India citing bubble fatigue. He also reasoned that he wanted to prepare for the upcoming T20 World Cup and wanted to remain fresh for the Ashes and thus family time was necessary.  

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SRH Team Preview: David Warner must find 'killer instinct' for his underdog, but formidable side

Amid the indisputable domination of the Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings in the history of the Indian Premier League, there is a team that has all that it takes to be a champion side, except they don’t rise to their best. That side is the Sunrisers Hyderabad, and undoubtedly, they will be ruing not winning the elusive title after their first triumph five years ago. The team has started every season as an underdog albeit having all the resources that make a side a world-beating one. List ingredients that make teams champions such as the presence of explosive opening batsmen, a mystery spinner to pick up crucial wickets in the middle phase of the game along with pacers who can swing the ball and strike early with the new ball to provide early momentum to the team. The Sunrisers have all of that for some time in their IPL journey and yet they have not been able to shed off the ‘underdog’ tag off themselves with a string of middling performances, especially in the middle of a season. The depth and resilience of the team were established last year as well when they lost Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mitchell Marsh fairly early in the seasons and yet they competed to a level to reach the playoff stage. David Warner, after a sluggish season at the start, rediscovered his mojo after trying to be an anchor—a role he has taken birth to fulfil while other batsmen such as Wriddhiman Saha and Manish Pandey stepped up their game when the team required them to come good. Marsh’s injury could well have been a balance threatening blow to the side, but they were smart in going for Jason Holder who proved to be a more effective weapon with the ball and far more reliable options than Marsh with the bat. As Marsh has pulled himself out of the IPL, the Sunrisers are not sweating over missing him from the tournament as Holder has cemented his place in the team. Top-order—spoilt for choices Unlike last season, when the opening pair of Jonny Bairstow and David Warner struggled for timing and form in the first half of the season, the Sunrisers will relish the prospect of having an in-form Bairstow after a blistering series against India. Warner, too, is coming off with some good runs under his belt in the Marsh Cup in Australia and it augurs well for the side at the start of the season. However, with the move of going for Jason Roy as a replacement for Marsh, the team management has dropped a hint that an opening pair of Jason Roy and David Warner with Bairstow slotting down to the number four slot in the order can’t be completely ruled out. In the last season, the pair of Manish Pandey and Kane Williamson batted at the number three and four positions and there is lack of clarity on New Zealand’s skipper’s fitness after a long lay off and hence the idea of having Bairstow at the number four position can also be a compelling one for the team to think about. Return of Bhuvneshwar and a confident Natarajan Sunrisers’ campaign started derailing in the last season the moment Bhuvneshwar Kumar ruled out of the tournament with an ankle injury. The lay off was a prolonged one but he bounced back resoundingly in the ODI and T20I series against England to give Sunrisers good vibes going into the tournament. In his absence, Sandeep Sharma took it upon himself to produce goods and he did wonders from the one side in the powerplay. This time around, he will have the luxury of having Bhuvi bowling from the other end, and Sunriers will be hoping to grab the opposition teams by the scruff of their neck in the powerplay itself riding on the swinging balls of Bhuvneshwar and Sandeep. Sunrisers also unearthed a real talent in the form of T Natarajan who could produce yorkers at will in the death overs. He was menacing with his consistency and troubled all including the great AB de Villiers with his searing yorkers. Having impressed the selectors in IPL and earning an entry into the Indian team across all formats through a spell of good luck, Natarajan will return to his happy-hunting tournament with confidence at sky-high. He has performed reasonably well for India in the white-ball formats and was the lynchpin of India’s ODI series win over England. Sunrisers will have a formidable quartered of bowlers that include Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Rashid Khan, and T Natarajan, along with the all-around abilities of Jason Holder in the upcoming seasons. It would be fair to say that if batsmen can put up fighting scores, they can provide stern resistance against any batting line up in the tournament. Indian talents IPL franchises need to be rich in terms of having Indian talents in the team set up to be successful and the Sunrisers pass that test with flying colours as well. From Manish Pandey at the number three position in the batting to the trio of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Natarajan, and Sandeep Sharma, Sunriers’s squad is built around richly talented Indian players who could win games on their own. They have added few more names who have shown glimpses of what they could offer given they are offered consistent opportunities to impress. The two prominent ones are Abdul Samad and Abhishek Sharma, and both are coming on the back of a rich vein of form in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy. Sunrisers will be baking on them to step up when the big guns fail to provide the team with an impetus to win games and also in providing extra depth when they click in their methods. Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) Squad Indian players Abhishek Sharma, Basil Thampi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Manish Pandey, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Shreevats Goswami, Siddarth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed, T Natarajan, Vijay Shankar, Wriddhiman Saha, Virat Singh, Priyam Garg, Jason Holder, Abdul Samad, Kedar Jadhav, Jagadeesha Suchith. Overseas players David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, Kane Williamson, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Jason Roy, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman SRH coaching staff Head coach – Trevor Bayliss Director of cricket – Tom Moody Assistant coach – Brad Haddin Batting mentor – VVS Laxman Bowling mentor – Muttiah Muralitharan Fielding coach – Biju George Physiotherapist – Theo Kapakoulakis Physical trainer – Mario Villavarayan Performance and video analyst – Shrinivas Chandrasekaran SRH Best XI in IPL 2021 David Warner (C), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson, Abdul Samad, Jason Holder, Vijay Shankar, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T Natarajan, Sandeep Sharma


Nationwide lockdown imposed in Bangladesh, casts doubt on team’s Sri Lanka tour

The Bangladesh Cricket team would be returning home from their tour of New Zealand and would be welcomed by a nationwide lockdown imposed by the government to curtail the ever-rising cases of Covid-19. The returning players were to join the players in the Test squad after spending some time with their families, but now it all seems to be threatened. Even the team’s ever pending Sri Lanka tour is now under threat as well. BCB chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury though is hopeful that the team would be allowed to tour the island nation, but cannot help himself from casting certain doubts at it. "All the arrangements (for the tour) are in place but at the moment we are focusing on observing the condition of the country,” Cricbuzz quoted him as saying. "I cannot say it is doubtful at the moment considering the government just announced the lockdown,” Chowdhary added. Bangladesh were originally scheduled to travel to Sri Lanka for a two-match test series in June- July 2020. However, due to Covid-19, the series was postponed to November- December 2020 and then eventually to April 2021. Taking the situation into account, Chowdhary said that BCB would have a discussion with all the stakeholders before allowing the team to embark on the journey to Sri Lanka for the two Tests at Pallekelle. "We will understand where we stand within a few days and a decision in this regard will be taken after consulting with respective authorities (government) as well as discussing with our Sri Lankan counterpart as well," Chowdhary said. The two-match series begins with the first Test starting on April 21. The second Test begins on April 29.