David Warner lurks as Sunrisers Hyderabad gear up to kickstart IPL 2017 | ipl 2017 | Hindustan Times
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David Warner lurks as Sunrisers Hyderabad gear up to kickstart IPL 2017

David Warner is back to lead Sunrisers Hyderabad in their IPL title defence and coach Tom Moody is confident the Aussie opener won’t be affected by the Test series low against India.

ipl 2017 Updated: Apr 04, 2017 22:15 IST
Khurram Habib
David Warner
David Warner will be looking to repeat his last year’s performance for Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL.(Hindustan Times)

A rare player who used Twenty20 cricket as the springboard to Test vice-captaincy, Australia opener David Warner’s initial brush with fame came through his athletic fielding in the Indian Premier League in his debut season in 2009, and in 2010 with Delhi Daredevils. (IPL SCHEDULE)

Signed up by Delhi Daredevils a month before his blistering T20I debut against South Africa in January 2009, he seemed just another Aussie picked in an IPL team for his fielding and power-hitting, qualities India players lacked.

However, when he takes the field on Wednesday against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL 2017 opener, a lot will be going on under his Sunrisers Hyderabad cap than just throwing himself on the field and smashing big sixes. He led them to the IPL title last year, from the front with the bat.

Mountain of runs

Warner amassed 848 runs last year, which only got overshadowed because Virat Kohli made 973 runs. In terms of impact, Warner was probably better. His 93 not out in last year’s semifinal single-handedly carried the team to the final, where he again hammered 69 and guided his bowlers through an onslaught from Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle.

READ | IPL 2017: SRH’s Bhuvneshwar Kumar determined to contribute in death overs

“Warner’s is a fascinating story,” said fellow Aussie Tom Moody, Sunrisers Hyderabad coach, on Tuesday. “He has come from the back door, I mean through T20 cricket. He played first-class after IPL and then performed in the Shield competition and then did well in Test cricket.”

Hunger for success

Moody attributes Warner’s rise to attitude. “He is very hungry for runs and success. That is what sets him apart.”

Warner, who arrived here on Monday night after a slightly extended break in Australia following a poor Test series against India here, was already keeping track of things in the SRH camp, even sending out possible XIs.

His poor form in the Tests --- one fifty in eight innings --- isn’t a cause of concern for Sunrisers.

“Not really bothered by his form. He did well in the last Test at Dharamsala, scoring a half-century. T20 is a very different format. He is just one good innings away from getting into form. The way he plays, I know he’ll come up with something,” Moody said.

Pressure on captain

Warner will be tested. The pressure of defending the title, teams being better prepared for SRH now, and going in without Bangladesh left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman, who played a key role last year, especially in the death overs, will all weigh in his mind.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who earned his franchise captain’s wrath during the Test series with an aggressive spell, feels bowling late in the innings will again be the key. “We have to bowl well in the death overs,” he said on Tuesday.

READ | Rohit Sharma, Mohammed Shami look to use IPL 2017 to regain Team India berths

It will be a test of Warner’s tactical nous. As Moody says, “He has done a wonderful job over the last two years. He is able to take tactical decisions.”

To start with, his task will be a bit easier as Royal Challengers Bangalore will be without both Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, both nursing injuries.