Taking a look at last year's worst team (2-14-0), the one thing we can say about Hyderabad Chargers is that there is no possible way they can play worse.
This team had a tumultuous season (like the Challengers) and has undergone a lot of changes. I like the things they have done, though.
First they fired everyone involved form last season: the coaches, the CEO, and the captain. They even changed the logo and jersey.
Laxman never seemed to be a leader and shouldn’t have been told to lead this team. Gilchrist is much more suited to twenty and has a lot of experience being vice captain under Ponting in Australia.
Lets’ go right to the squad:
Batsmen (Internationals starred)
- Adam Glichrist*
- Andrew Symonds*
- Charma Silva*
- Herschelle Gibbs*
- Venugopal Rao
- VVS Laxman
- Abhinav Kumar
- Arjun Yadav
- Halhadar Das
- Manvinder Bisla
- Dwayne Smith*
- Ryan Harris*
- Scott Styris*
- Rohit Sharma
- Tirumalasetti Suman
- Jaskaran Singh
- Chaminda Vaas*
- Nuwan Zoysa*
- Fidel Edwards*
- Pragyan Ojha
- RP Singh
- D Kalyan Krishna
- Dwaraka Ravi Teja
- Harmeet Singh
- P Vijaykumar
- PM Sarvesh Kumar
- Darren Lehman
Be aware of the following scheduling issues when choosing the playing XI.
The IPL starts Apr. 18 and ends May 24.
The Australian-Pakistan series ends only on May 7.
The English and the West Indies will play starting May 6, and won’t be back. Luckily for Chargers, the only player they would lose would be Fidel Edwards.
The seven Indian players on this team are hard to come by. The obvious choices are VVS Laxman, Venugopal Roa, Rohit Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, and RP Singh.
The other two would be domestics. Take them on a wing and prayer: Vijaykumar and Yadav. At least both have some experience from last year and perhaps they will play better after getting used to the tournament and format.
The four international players are hard to pick. Obviously Gilly makes it, and I would take Symonds into the XI, too. He is 34, and he must realize he might never play for Australia again. This tournament might be the last time he can influence the selectors and show them, and the world, his amazing abilities.
Herschelle Gibbs should be taken just because he knows these grounds and loves them, especially the bullring. If he gets going he could destroy any attack and change the game.
The final spot should go to Fidel Edwards or Zoysa because the bowling is weak. Vaas's skills have diminished to the point where he has become a liability to the team. Styris can be added at some point but he is injury prone and has been unimpressive.
So the batting line up would ideally be:
- Adam Glichrist
- Herschelle Gibbs
- Rohit Sharma
- VVS Laxman
- Andrew Symonds
- Venugopal Rao
- RP Singh
- Vijay Kumar
- Fidel Edwards
I love the opening combo and it is their biggest strength. I put Sharma at one down because if the early wicket falls he can stem the tide, or he can continue at a rapid pace. He is more flexible than VVS Laxman.
His form in the ODI’s in New Zealand though is worrying. I was thinking about moving Symmo to four, but both he and VVS are used to their positions right now, and if there needs to be some late hitting Symmo is the one you want.
The tail is long though and full of unprovens and that is worrisome.
The bowling, frankly, is shit. RP is, on his day, great (like the world twenty20 versus SA) but I don’t know if he is spearhead material. Edwards is good but he is not an attacking wicket taking bowler.
Ojha was ripped apart numerous times last year and could not bowl his quota of four. Vijay Kumar is a domestic player and we have to see what he can do.
The other four overs have to come from somewhere. Symmo will be responsible for some of it along with Yadav and Sharma.
Bat first as much as possible. If you put up an imposing target the bowlers have something to bowl against. A high score can pressure the opposing batsmen and encourage the weak bowling attack.
I love the team's consistency. They won’t have a lot of people leaving or coming back. Only Edwards will leave. This will be a boon to the team.
They have the chance to really gel and for each player to learn their tasks. Gilly is also underrated as a captain and will be impressive. I think Gibbs will play much better this season in front of his home crowd and he loves the spotlight. Look for the team to be much more focused and organized.
The bowling, the long tail, and the lack of bench strength are all liabilities. If any of the internationals get hurt there is no one that can play at that level. Ryan Harris is supposed to be have impressed the coach, but we will see how he does on this level.
Gilchrist has been out of cricket for a year and his form is questionable. Symmo has been playing domestic cricket and still has drinking and mental health issues.
The team also lacks a good all-rounder in the form of Flintoff or Ryder to provide good balance. Symmo has been much more of a good batsmen than a good bowler.
This team will surprise and shock everyone this year. They will be considered this year’s Royals for a while until other teams figure them out, especially their dependence on the batting super stars.
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