Hyderbad, April 8: Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad will face-off in the Indian Premier League here on Monday sans their marquee captains Steve Smith and David Warner who are serving a one-year ban for ball tampering.
Smith and Warner were barred by the BCCI from taking part in the IPL after their role in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
Rajasthan, who are back in the tournament after serving a two-year suspension, and Hyderabad will thus not only miss their leadership skills but also two quality batters in their ranks.
India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane will be leading Rajasthan in Smith’s absence while New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson will captain the Hyderabad franchise.
Hosts Hyderabad will depend on India and England openers Shikhar Dhawan and Alex Hales, drafted in as replacement to Warner, to deliver the goods at the top.
Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan will boost the middle order while their bowling line-up is one of the strongest this season.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Sandeep Sharma will do the bulk of work in pace department while Afghanistan leggie Rashid Khan and Bangladesh star Shakib Al Hasan form a potent spin duo.
For Rajasthan, England’s star all-rounder Ben Stokes and Jaydev Unadkat, the highest paid Indian roped in this season (Rs 11.5 crore), would have to shoulder a lot of responsibility especially after the Jaipur-based franchise spent a lot on the pair.
They went big even after uncapped players like Sussex all-rounder Jofra Archer (Rs 7.2 crore) and Karnataka offie K Gowtham (Rs 6.2 crore).
Royals also did well in the IPL auction by picking proven performers in other T20 leagues such as the Big Bash League in Australia.
As a result, they have some exciting new faces in the IPL such as D’Arcy Short and Jofra Archer joining a talented bunch of Indian players.
Smith’s replacement, South African wicketkeeper batsman Heinrich Klaasen, is downright a handy pick with his impressive show against the Indian spinners in South Africa recently still fresh in memory.
With legendary Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne, who led Royals to the title triumph in 2008, roped in as the Team mentor, Royals will also have a good think-tank in the team dugout.
SRH: Kane Williamson (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Wriddhiman Saha, Siddharth Kaul, Deepak Hooda, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Shreevats Goswami, Ricky Bhui, Basil Thampi, T Natarajan, Sachin Baby, Bipul Sharma, Mehdi Hasan, Tanmay Agarwal, Alex Hales, Carlos Brathwaite, Rashid Khan, Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Nabi, Chris Jordan and Billy Stanlake.
RR: Ajinkya Rahane (Captain), Ankit Sharma, Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jofra Archer, DArcy Short, Dushmantha Chameera, Stuart Binny, Shreyas Gopal, S Midhun, Jaydev Unadkat, Ben Laughlin, Prashant Chopra, Krishnappa Gowtham, Mahipal Lomror, Jatin Saxena, Anureet Singh, Aryaman Birla, Jos Buttler, Heinrich Klaasen, Zahir Khan and Rahul Tripathi.