Sunrisers make IPL debut Friday, confident of reaching semi-finals

Hyderabad, April 4 (IANS) A confident Sunrisers Hyderabad will make its debut in Indian Premier League (IPL) here Friday with its first encounter against Pune Warriors India at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium. The team had fixed a target of reaching the semifinals.

Both chief mentor K. Srikanth and chief coach Tom Moody exuded confidence that the team would begin the season on a good note.

Sunrisers, which replaced earlier Hyderabadi franchise Deccan Chargers, has also set reaching semifinals as its primary goal.

"Everybody's goal is to win the cup at the end of the day. Our primary goal is that we should qualify for semifinals. We should come in top four. We are confident of doing it," Srikanth told reporters after his team had a practice session at the stadium.

The former Indian cricketer said as a new franchise, Sunrisers would like to make big impact in this IPL. He appealed to people of Hyderabad and Andhra Pradesh to pray for the team's success.

"I am a very firm believer in positive energy. I always appeal to fans to pray. The prayers helped India win this World Cup," he said.

On his role as mentor, Srikanth said it a great experience to be new role as mentor.

"We talked to the boys. We have given few tips what to do what not to do. Cricket is a team game. We are jelling well as a team which is very important aspect as we have lot of superstars. At the same time we have domestic talent, especially from Hyderabad and Andhra Pradesh. We are bullish about this kind of players and we are confident that these players will come good," he said.

He was confident that apart from Indian players like Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma and Parthiv Patel, the domestic cricketers would make a huge difference.

Moody said they were comfortable with the team comprising both domestic and international players.

"We have prepared well. We are disappointed that we could not play yesterday's practice match due to out of season heavy rains. Apart from that we feel confident and comfortable going into the first challenge."

The coach said they had decided on the playing 11 but would announce the same after the toss. Describing the pitch as excellent, he said despite rains the ground staff and head curator have done a great job.

On former Pakistani fast bowler Waqar Yonis as the bowling coach and Dale Steyn in the team, Moody said it was nice to see them bowling together.

"It is certainly something to enjoy. The exciting thing for me is having Waqar as bowling coach. He has wealth of experience. It is not only the domestic players but also Dale Steyn excited to work with someone like Waqar. If we can create learning environment where even the best fast bowler in the world is prepared to sit in the class room and be a part of the learning environment it is very good," he said.

The coach felt that there is a lot to learn from Waqar, Steyn and many others in the playing group. He said as a coach he was trying to create an environment where players are prepared to share and also learn from others.

"Everyone has something to offer whether you played 100 test matches or you have not played a test match yet. It is important to embrace everyone's knowledge," he added.

Moody said Daren Sami had not arrived yet. He is still in Carribean as his wife is expecting first child. He is expected to join the team in a week.

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