The Sunrisers Hyderabad surprised quite a few people by winning the title in IPL 2016 ahead of more fancied teams like the Royal Challengers Bangalore, the Mumbai Indians and the Kolkata Knight Riders. Most of us would agree that the man responsible for this success was their inspirational captain who led from the front and almost single-handedly inspired his side to the top – David Warner.
By scoring a total of 848 runs in the tournament, second only to Virat Kohli’s 963, Warner showed how a side can do wonders if led well. Over the years too, SRH, which used to be Deccan Chargers till the 2012 season of the IPL, have had wonderful leaders like Adam Gilchrist, Kumar Sangakkara and Cameron White who have led them with distinction and have produced some very good results for the team.
Extra Cover: IPL 2017: Evolution of Team Hyderabad
They have been blessed with a mix of explosive as well as stylish players over the years which make them one of the most dangerous and unpredictable sides in the IPL.
In this vein, let’s take a look at what can be called the all-time greatest XI of the Sunrisers Hyderabad. This side has a mix of players right from the 2008 season when they were the Deccan Chargers and not just from the SRH side which was formed in 2013.
Also, to maintain a pattern and consistency, the cut-off number of matches is 25 and the IPL rule of 4 foreign players and 7 Indians in the XI has been used.
#1 Adam Gilchrist
Undisputedly the greatest wicketkeeper-batsman of all time, Adam Gilchrist was one of the biggest names signed by the Deccan Chargers for the inaugural edition of the IPL.
He wasn’t made the captain initially as the responsibility went to VVS Laxman, but he soon took over the mantle. After a dismal season in 2008 where the team finished last, he scripted a fairytale turnaround in 2009 in which he led his team to the title in a tense final against the RCB.
His numbers, as in the international arena, were quite impressive for the Deccan Chargers; the highlight being a stunning 42-ball hundred against the Mumbai Indians. He would be my first pick in the XI as well as the captain.
#2 David Warner
Statistically, David Warner is the greatest batsman to represent the Hyderabad franchise, having played for them in three seasons, starting from 2014. His stats in these three seasons tell us why he is the first name on the SRH playing sheet these days and without him, the team’s strength reduces signifcantly.
While his exploits in Test cricket in the sub-continent haven’t been remarkable, it’s the shortest format of the game in which he is a real superstar. An expert at giving his team explosive starts in the powerplay, he then carries on to get substantial scores more often than not, which is what a team expects from their opening batsmen.
Let’s have a look at his eye-popping numbers from 2014-2016 for the SRH:
#3 Shikhar Dhawan
One of the most consistent as well as most capped players for the DC as well as SRH, Shikhar Dhawan has been a pillar in the batting line up around which the entire team revolves.
An extremely explosive batsman himself, he has played second fiddle to Warner and at times even Aaron Finch, in terms of fast scoring, but his consistency has been a boon for his team for many seasons now.
As his numbers suggest, his main contribution to his team has been his consistency:
#4 Rohit Sharma
We as cricket fans have got so accustomed to watching Rohit Sharma turn up in blue for the Mumbai Indians that at times it’s easy to forget that it was with the Deccan Chargers that he first made his name in the IPL. He was part of the team for the first three seasons of the IPL and performed with distinction.
To make a mark in a side that boasted of names like Gilchrist, Symonds, VVS Laxman, Gibbs, Afridi and Styris was no easy task, but the “Hitman” successfully did so and took his team to many memorable wins.
Who can forget the assault on Mashrafe Mortaza in the last over of the chase where he scored 21 in the over to steal an unlikely win for DC!
#5 Andrew Symonds
Deccan Chargers’ most expensive signing in the inaugural IPL, Andrew Symonds was picked by the franchise due to his big hitting abilities and tremendous agility on the field.
Add to that his smart bowling which could oscillate between off-spin and medium pace and you had a player tailor-made for this format of the game.
For three seasons with the DC, he didn’t disappoint either. Some match turning innings with the bat and tight spells with the ball went a long way in helping his team clinch the title in 2009. The highlight of his IPL career was a brutal 11 not out off just 53 deliveries in the first IPL against the Rajasthan Royals.
#6 Tirumalasetti Suman
An unexpected name here, but a quick look at his stats for the Deccan Chargers shows his importance and consistency to the team and the reasoning behind his inclusion in the all-time XI.
Playing for the DC in IPL 2009 and 2010, Suman batted at many positions from No. 3 to lower in the order, but from every position, he produced cameos which helped his side turn matches around and seize initiatives.
As his numbers will tell you, his consistency with the bat especially in the 2009 season, went a long way in clinching the title for the Chargers.
#7 Karn Sharma
One of those few players who has been with the same IPL team since making their debut in the tournament, Karn Sharma first turned up for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2013 and has been with them ever since. His leg-spin was an instant hit and on many occasions, the spinner from Railways even out-bowled the much senior Amit Mishra when the two leggies bowled in tandem.
His efforts led the team to retain him in 2015 ahead of Amit Mishra. With the bat too, Sharma has played some hard-hitting cameos lower down the order and as his batting average would tell you, he is by no means a bad choice at No. 7 for this all-time XI.
#8 Amit Mishra
We made a mention of his name while talking about Karn Sharma earlier, and how Karn was retained ahead of him in 2015, but there is no denying the fact that Amit Mishra has been the star bowler for DC and SRH and has produced many magical spells for his teams.
The only bowler to have taken three hat-tricks in the IPL, he picked up two of them for the team from Hyderabad (one each for DC and SRH) against the KXIP in 2011 and then in 2013 against the Pune Warriors India. His numbers give us an indication as to why he is regarded as one of the best, if not the best leg-spinner in the history of the IPL.
#9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar
India’s best swing bowler, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, or “Bhuvi” as he is called, has played for the SRH from 2014 and has been their go-to man in pressure situations with the ball. Whether it is with the new ball using his big in-swingers to the right-handers, or at the death, when his yorkers are one of the best in the game, Bhuvi has been instrumental in SRH’s success in these last three seasons.
His brilliant skills at the death has made him David Warner’s main man in tense run chases when his side had to defend few runs
#10 Dale Steyn
The best fast bowler in the world for many years now, Dale Steyn is easily the best overseas fast bowler to have ever played for the DC and the SRH. His swing bowling at extreme pace has given nightmarish times to many a batsmen in the IPL.
Who can ever forget that over to his teammate from South Africa, Richard Levi, where he bamboozled him for five deliveries before knocking back his middle stump off the fifth.
Another memorable bowling spell was his over of banana outswingers which had the classy Rohit Sharma all at sea.
#11 Pragyan Ojha
The most consistent spinner for DC along with the two leggies, Pragyan Ojha played for them from 2008 to 2011 and produced many match winning performances.
He was easily among the best left-arm spinners in the IPL when he played for the DC in his early years and his performances were duly noticed by the selectors who picked him for India’s WT20 squad for the 2nd edition of the tournament in 2009.
He moved to the MI in 2012 and gave some memorable performances for them too, but it was his exploits for DC that got him recognition at the international level.