Sunrisers aim high

Sunrisers Hyderabad chief coach Tom Moody wants his “ underdog” team to play in the IPL final next month and has advised his players to concentrate more on the “ process” of how to reach that stage so that they don’t lose the path.

A member of the 1987 and 1999 World Cup- winning Australian teams, Moody says his first aim would be to ensure the team finishes amongst the top four and qualify for the knock- out stages.

“Our goals are more focussed around the process as against the outcomes. Our focus as a support team, and also as a playing group, is more on the process on how we’re going to find ourselves in the top four. We’re not looking too far ahead,” Moody told Mail Today in an interview.

“We know that in this competition we’re considered one of the underdogs. We are not the favourites. So, our focus is not so much about the number of games we’re going to win or whether we play in the final,” he said.

“Of course, we do want to play in final and that goes without saying; that’s where the burning fire comes from inside. But outside, it’s more about how we’re going to get there and what we need to do collectively to achieve that [success].” Moody, 47, emphasised that the pace bowling department, comprising the likes of Dale Steyn, Ishant Sharma, Thisara Perera, Clinton McKay, and Sudeep Tyagi holds a lot of promise and hope.

“Our strike bowling is a strong point, there’s no question,” he says in a typical understatement.

“Ishant’s now fit and he’s clearly in good form. The combination of Ishant and Styen is going to be quite potent in the early overs. The all-round skills have improved with the recruitment of the likes of Perreira, [Nathan] McCullum and [Darren] Sammy.” Moody is also banking on the slow bowlers, leg-spinners Amit Mishra and Cameron White, offie McCullum, left-armers Ankit Sharma, P. Prasath etc.

“Definitely, we’re very confident of the role that Mishra will play and has played in the past. He’s clearly a dangerous bowler in T20 cricket and the overseas spinning option of McCullum, and the likes of Ankit and Prasath are part of the specialist spinners’ make up,” he said.

Sunrisers Hyderabad were disadvantaged in several ways after the BCCI scrapped Deccan Chargers for breach of contract, and the new franchise had limited options in hiring players. The consolation is that the Sunrises begin with no baggage.

“We’re obviously in a unique position where we’ve got new owners here in Hyderabad, new branding, and it’s a new name,” Moody points out.

“We didn’t have control over the entire squad. We’ve made adjustments and we’re very happy on international and local front.” One consolation for Moody is that he knows captain Kumar Sangakkara well from the time he was coach of Sri Lanka from 2005-2007.

“It’s important we’ve a strong relationship within the leadership group, and having that kind of history is definitely an advantage. It’s also an advantage that the relationship that we’ve with a number of players and he is one of the strong ones,” he said.

“We’ve got among a number of players with international experience and they can add a lot to the playing group, both on and off the field, the likes of Cameron White, who has been in every edition of the IPL, Sammy, the [ 2012 T20] World Cup- winning captain of the West Indies etc.”

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