In this series of articles, we are assessing the team combinations of all IPL teams before the auction on December 19. The aim is to identify the key areas that the teams need to address in this year’s auction. To segment the analysis, we have divided a team into four sections – Top-order (1-3), Middle-order (4-7), spinners and pacers.
We will analyse each of these segments by further segmenting them with the respective median value of their categories since IPL 2015. To eliminate bias from extreme values, a median (the middle value that separates the higher half from the lower half of the data set) not a mean (average) is considered for analysis. All numbers are taken since 2015 to ensure that the analysis is performed based on a long-term trend. Minimum qualification criteria for medians is 5 matches for batsmen and 10 overs for bowlers.
Top-order and Middle-order batsmen: The players in the top right-hand box are considered to be consistent and quick scorers (Batting Average above 29.93 for top and 22.33 for middle-order and Batting Strike Rate above 132.1 for top and 132 for middle-order).
The top left-hand box represents players who are quick scorers but not consistent (Batting Average below 29.93 for top and 22.33 for middle-order and Batting Strike Rate above 132.1 for top and 132 for middle-order).
The bottom right-hand section players are observed as consistent but not quick scorers (Batting Average above 29.93 for top and 22.33 for middle-order and Batting Strike Rate below 132.1 for top and 132 for middle-order).
And finally, the bottom left-hand section is regarded as players who are neither quick scorer nor consistent (Batting Average below 29.33 for top and 22.33 for middle-order and Batting Strike Rate below 132.1 for top and 132 for middle-order).
Pacers and Spinners: The players in the top right-hand box are considered to be economical and wicket-takers (Economy Rate below 8.8 for pacers and below 8 for spinners; Bowling Strike Rate below 21.05 for pacers and below 24.55 for spinners.)
The top left-hand box represents players who are wicket-takers but not economical (Economy Rate above 8.8 for pacers and above 8 for spinners; Bowling Strike Rate below 21.05 for pacers and below 24.55 for spinners.)
The bottom right-hand section players are observed as economical but not wicket-takers (Economy Rate below 8.8 for pacers and below 8 for spinners; Bowling Strike Rate above 21.05 for pacers and above 24.55 for spinners.)
And finally, the bottom left-hand section contains players who are neither economical nor wicket-takers (Economy Rate above 8.8 for pacers and above 8 for spinners; Bowling Strike Rate above 21.05 for pacers and above 24.55 for spinners.)
Note that the aim of this analysis is to analyze the strongest squad possible each team can assemble after the auction; hence, suggestions like replacement for retained players are not provided.
IPL 2019 Position – 4th
One of the most consistent IPL teams, SRH have been among the top-4 since 2016 when they went on to win the title. Known for their strong bowling department, SRH have most of their bases covered before the auction.
SRH Top-Order (1-3)
David Warner is among the best openers in IPL ever. He provides a demolishing impact at the top of the order. Despite playing only 12 games, he won the orange cap last year. Jonny Bairstow also enjoyed a successful debut season in 2019. He scored 445 runs in 10 games.
It is difficult to choose if Kane Williamson is a better leader or a better batman. He is an excellent number three. The issue for them at the top-order is none of these batsmen is a local. Hence, it is unlikely for them to play all three together in a match. Hence, they should look to romp in an Indian opener in this year’s IPL to avoid a makeshift option.
Additionally, they do not have wicket-keeper options that are good with the bat in this format. Hence, Bairstow becomes a key player.
They should look to bid on Vishnu Vinod (strike-rate 137.3 since 2018, he hit most sixes in Vijay Hazare Trophy 2019) to have an alternate wicket-keeping option if they want to play Williamson instead.
SRH Middle-Order (4-7)
If they decide to drop Williamson for Bairstow, their middle-order becomes really week. That is the biggest concern for SRH. Manish Pandey has been in top-form post IPL this year, but Vijay Shankar is inexperienced to shoulder the burden at this level. Mohammad Nabi, the batsman, has not been a heavy performer in IPL.
Abhishek Sharma did not bowl much in the domestic T20 tournament this year but betted with an impressive strike-rate of 145.6 at the top-order.
To provide the impetus lower down the order, it is imperative for them to invest in a finisher.
Rashid Khan is one of the best T20 spinners in the world. Nabi too is highly economical. The Indian left-arm spinner, Shahbaz Nadeem does not have very impressive T20 numbers but his experience will be helpful on conducive tracks. Since 2018, his T20 economy is 6 and has a strike-rate of 21.2.
Bidding on spinners is not a necessity for SRH.
There are far too many pace options at their disposal. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is an India regular. While Sandeep Sharma and Siddharth Kaul have been very impressive in IPL over the years. Khaleel Ahmed’s strike-rate is among the best in IPL.
The Australian, Billy Stanlake, can be swapped with Nabi depending on the conditions. They have a few reserve options as well.
Overall, the target for SRH in the auction for IPL 2020 is to bid on an Indian opener and a finisher lower down the order. If they chose to go with a foreign player, they should look for an all-rounder who is better with the bat than Nabi.
Best XI as per the current squad-
David Warner, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Kane Williamson ©, Manish Pandey, Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma.
IPL 2019 Position – 3rd
The least successful team in the IPL. They have not been able to reach the finals even once. However, a new-look team with a new name did well last year and ended at the third position.
DC Top-Order (1-3)
The host of Indian players at their disposal is DC’s strength. Indian players can easily fill their top 4 spots, leaving a room for expensive foreign finishers.
Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw will most likely continue their partnership at the top. Shreyas Iyer will bat at three.
Ajinkya Rahane was traded in ahead of the auction. However, it is not very clear as to where will he fit into the set-up.
Going into the auction, they can sit back and relax on top-order batsmen.
DC Middle-Order (4-7)
Rishabh Pant is a huge presence at four. Axar and Harshal Patel are decent lower-order all-rounders. However, the team has the room and the budget to go for a foreign middle-order batsman and an all-rounder.
They should bid on the likes of Glenn Maxwell, Eoin Morgan or Shimron Hetmyer. They can also target James Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme in addition to a foreign batsman.
Two good foreign players at five and six can turn the fortunes of this team around.
After trading in Ashwin, DC have a well-grounded spin squad as well. Amit Mishra and Axar Patel provide the variety as Sandeep Lamichhane too is a decent leg spinner from Nepal.
They do not need any more spinners this year.
Kagiso Rabada was the leading wicket-taker before his injury in IPL 2019 (25 wickets in 12 games). Keemo Paul too had more than a decent IPL. However, the Indian pace options in Avesh Khan and Ishant Sharma can be expensive at times.
It will not be a surprise if DC opt to bid for another foreign pace option in this year’s auction.
Best XI as per the current squad-
Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer (c), Rishabh Pant (wk), Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Sandeep Lamichhane, Keemo Paul.