After losing to the Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad, Sunrisers Hyderabad’s head coach, the batting legend Brian Lara, admitted that it was difficult to get a grip on “the emotions of going through an IPL season” during his first stint as coach. Unfortunately, the side did not make it past the league phase and failed to consistently perform as a unit. The 34-run loss to the GT was their eighth defeat in 12 matches.
Lara was previously a strategic adviser and batting coach. This was the West Indian great’s first assignment as the head coach of a T20 team.
“First of all, it’s my first year (as head coach of an IPL side)…,” acknowledged Lara during the post-match media interaction. Lara indicated understanding the nitty-gritty in his first year of coaching a T20 side was difficult.
After an unsuccessful 2022 where they finished eighth, SRH parted ways with their most successful coach Tom Moody, who had guided them to the playoffs five times and won the IPL 2016.
“Not getting to grips with the emotions of going through an IPL season, especially when we were back to travelling to different venues and finding out different surfaces,” the 54-year-old said.
GT vs SRH 2023 Highlights | Gujarat Titans defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad by 34 runs
“Our last year was based on 3-4 venues (due to Covid-19 and bio-bubble environment), so there is a huge difference in that,” he added.
“As a coach, an appreciation of how much you have to pay attention to what’s going on is a meticulous task to get things right continuously,” Lara said, hoping that the players correct their “mistakes” next season and emerge as “much better cricketers”.
Lara further said that they had a “respectable batting unit,” but their batters did not perform consistently.
SRH had relied heavily on Rahul Tripathi and Abhishek Sharma in batting, but the duo struggled this season.
Tripathi, who scored 413 last season, made 258 runs from 12 matches this time.
Sharma, who scored 426 runs in 2022, scored 215 from 10 matches.
“The likes of Rahul Tripathi or Abhishek Sharma, who scored runs last year in excess of 400 (each), find themselves struggling a bit this year.
“But it’s not just one or two players, it’s not just the Indian players. I feel that, as a unit, we were unable to match up to what was expected.
“If you look on paper, I would think that this is a respectable batting lineup, and we just weren’t able to come to the party enough times,” added Lara.
The franchise also drew flak for not giving enough opportunity to their tearaway pacer Umran Malik.
UMRAN MALIK COULDN’T DELIVER
Malik, who grabbed 12 wickets last season, has only played seven matches this time and returned with five scalps.
“You have to just look at the form of the player. We have great expectations of Umran (Malik). He’s got Dale Steyn to work with,” Lara said.
“But we have to play each game to win. We’ve got to put our best XI out on the field. So, I think, it’s strictly on the fact that the form of the player is something that we look at before picking the team. We’ve got 25 players (in the squad to choose from),” Lara pointed out.
“I’d like you (media) to ask me that question about Tyagi because he is also a very special talent. He’s only had one opportunity so far, so I can’t see anything wrong in the selection,” he added.