'If it persists, it will be a problem': Aakash Chopra feels Sunrisers Hyderabad may not retain experienced India pacer
Former Team India batsman Aakash Chopra believes Sunrisers Hyderabad may or may not retain an experienced Indian pacer should his issues continue to haunt him and the team.
The players are set to go under the hammer at next year's mega IPL auction. Though still far away, it has already started to create a buzz around it. IPL 2021, in many ways, showed that numerous teams need a major revamp and how crucial will IPL 2022 auction will be for them. Hence, one can expect a majority of franchises to shape up very differently from next year onwards.
Former Team India batsman Aakash Chopra has also jumped on the bandwagon. This time around, he spoke of Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) while keeping pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar and his fitness in focus.
Bhuvi, as he is fondly known, has suffered a string of injuries in the last couple of years. After returning to action in IPL 2020 post the coronavirus-enforced break, Bhuvneshwar sustained a thigh muscle injury and was eventually ruled out of the remainder of the tournament.
Subsequently, he missed India's tour of Australia and could not regain adequate match fitness by the time India's Test series against England at home began. Eventually, he made a comeback into the Indian team during the white-ball leg of the tour. In the five-match ODI series, the right-arm pacer picked up four wickets in five matches as he was yet to hit the top gear.
Soon after, in the ODI series, the 31-year-old finished as the joint second-highest wicket-taker with six scalps. Bhuvneshwar of the old had returned- impressive economy rate and among the wickets.
At that point, the SRH management would have lit up at the sight of Bhuvi's returns. However, their happiness did not last long as Bhuvneshwar walked off with a thigh strain in their third match. As fate would have it, the injury arrived at the worst possible time as David Warner-led SRH had lost all their three opening games.
While reflecting on SRH's possible retention strategy in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra pointed out the franchise might reconsider retaining Bhuvneshwar due to his fitness.
"Hyderabad has Bhuvneshwar Kumar amongst the Indians to be retained, whom they might think about. But Bhuvi's fitness has been an issue. If it persists like this, it will be a problem because the first retention might be for 17 crores and the second might be for 12-15 crores. Would he be available at the auction for a cheaper price, maybe yes, maybe not," said Chopra.
The cricketer-turned-commentator picked Rashid Khan as the first player SRH should look to retain.
"So in my opinion, Rashid Khan will be SRH's first retention. He is going to be an expensive player although you want to keep more Indians in the retention list," stated Chopra.
Before IPL 2021 was suspended due to the Covid-19 crisis in India and an outbreak in various franchise bio-bubbles, Uttar Pradesh bowler Bhuvneshwar returned to play two more matches. However, he failed to make any impact as he could only bag three wickets in five matches and SRH remained at the bottom of the table with one win in seven matches.