The former Australian cricketer highlighted that while getting into the knockout stage will be the first target for every team in the tournament, the defending champions would only be able to do so if they improve their on-field performances from last season.
“You need to constantly evolve as a coach, as a player and as a team. The same things don’t tend to work day in day out, particularly in a fast-moving game like T20. The style of cricket, the brand you play, the game plan you have in place will naturally change with the personnel changes in the squad every year,” Moody was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“To me, it is not so much asking us as reigning champions defending our title. That is not what it is about. It is about us looking to improve on what we did last year. There are certain areas we feel that we can improve, and if we focus on just those small aspects of our game as a team, we hope that the results will reflect that and we will be playing finals cricket again. Ultimately every team wants to climb into the top four. That is the first milestone every franchise wants to achieve. For us to do that, we need to be focusing on how we need to continue to improve,” he said when asked about the Hyderabad franchise’s targets for the 2017 season.
Moody knows exactly what worked for his team last season.
He highlighted the performance of Australian opener David Warner and his partnership with Shikhar Dhawan as the “cornerstone” to the team’s success.
Warner was the leading run-getter for the side last season with 848 runs at an average of 60.57. He managed 88 fours and 31 sixes among his nine half-centuries from 17 matches.
“There was no question that there were some remarkable individual performances that led the campaign to be a successful one last year. The real cornerstone to our success was firstly our captain, David Warner, and his extraordinary season, and secondly, his partnership with Shikhar Dhawan. Both shared the best opening combination of the tournament. You can look at any numbers, but if you have got your top order firing, you go a long way towards building a strong total that one can defend or chase down,” Moody said.
The team’s middle order has been questioned in the lead up to the 2017 season especially since their contributions were limited last year.
However, Moody believes that less blame lies with the middle order because the efficiency of the openers saw them play out a lot of deliveries in order to take the team to a high total.
“We also had situations where, because of that dominance of the top two, there were limited opportunities for others to shine. That was purely because the number of balls consumed by our top order really took the shine away from our middle order. Having said that, we had a number of cameos from our middle order that were significant in us winning games. Probably one of the most significant was Ben Cutting in the final.
“I am just saying that [getting less time at the crease] was a possible reason [the middle order did not flourish]. This year may be very different — though I hope not — where our No 3, 4 and 5 are going to have to make far more considerable contributions.
New Launch Pad
Shikhar Dhawan has missed out on selection for the India national team over the last few months.
Having managed 501 runs and four half-centuries last season, the Indian opener plans to make the 2017 IPL season, and other domestic tournaments, his stepping stone back into the Indian team.
And his IPL coach is backing him, especially after his recent turn of form in the Deodhar Trophy that has once against brought the southpaw into the limelight.
“Shikhar has struck some tidy form. He had a good hundred and a half-century just recently [in the Deodhar Trophy]. The IPL is a truly big stage to perform, whether you are an international or domestic player, because people recognise it is an extremely competitive and tough tournament. If you are scoring runs or taking wickets, it is worth noting. I am sure Shikhar has that burning hunger and desire to find himself back in the Indian squad. Another big season in the IPL would put his name in front of the selectors,” Moody said.