Kolkata: When will Kane Williamson play his first game for Sunrisers Hyderabad? The question seems to be bothering the fans of one of the most consistent teams in the IPL no end as they slumped to their third straight defeat - this time to champions Mumbai Indians on Saturday.
The more the frailties of the middle order of Sunrisers camp are showing up, the clamour to see the talismanic New Zealand skipper back at number four position for the Orange Army is gathering steam. The fact, however, is Williamson, who played a big role in steering the team to the 2018 final as captain during the ban of David Warner, is yet to get the green signal to play from their support staff after the elbow injury he sustained at the beginning of the year.
“Recovery is going really well and you know it’s been focused to get pain-free as quickly as possible, and we are certainly tracking really nicely and hoping to be fit and ready within the week,” Williamson said in a video uploaded on SRH’s Twitter handle on Friday.
Williamson also asserted that he is now trying to create a balance between practice and rehab before he finally gets into the swing of things. “It’s been a bit of balance between practice and rehab and sorts of things. But, for the most part, the progression has been really good. So, pretty optimistic about being close to full fitness very soon,” he added.
MORE ON IPL 2021
One of the pleasing batsman to watch in the modern game, Williamson may not be the biggest of hitters but is a master in anchoring the innings - especially when it comes to masterminding chases on slow wickets. In IPL 2020 in the United Arab Emirates, the 30-year-old was one of the reasons behind them reaching the semi-finals when in 12 matches, he scored 317 runs at an average of 45.28 and a strike rate of 133.75. A recent study reveals that Williamson’s presence shows a 52% win ratio for his team while it goes down to a mere 25% in his absence.
Quizzed about Williamson’s availability after Saturday’s defeat, all Warner could say was: “We have to speak to the physios, he’s (Williamson) coming along nicely and plays a big role in our squad.”
“The guys need to play smart cricket in the middle, the bowlers have been fantastic and this wicket was slower than the previouaials wickets that we have played,” said the Australian captain, though the question remains if the squad has the resources at their disposal for handling challenging situations in the middle overs.
On Friday, it was newcomer Virat Singh and young allrounder Abhishek Sharma who failed to come good in the crucial number four and five positions after senior batsman Manish Pandey fell to an impetuous stroke early on. Last seaon, former Indian Under-19 skipper Priyam Garg had tasted some success in the middle stages - but the frailty of Warner’s middle order is now quite a glaring weakness on their part.
The availability of Williamson, in time for their next match against Punjab Kings on Wednesday, may solve the problem. If he is not up and running by then, their think tank can bring the England dasher Jason Roy in the equation and overhaul the batting line-up.