Dubai: ‘Orange Army,’ as the fans of Sunrisers Hyderabad call themselves, showered their captain Kane Williamson with birthday wishes as he turned 30 on Saturday. The graceful New Zealand batsman and captain - who shares his birthday with Swiss tennis ace Roger Federer - will lead the 2016 edition champions in IPL 2020, all set to be shifted to the UAE from September 19 to November 10.
Easily one of the most loved characters in contemporary cricket, Williamson is held in the same bracket as Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Joe Root as a premier batsman while his thinking captaincy has been lauded in international cricket as well as the pressure cooker atmposhere of IPL. The cool demeanour which he maintained after the massive heartbreak of losing the ICC World Cup final in the Super Over to England last year, on the count of number of boundaries, has endeared him to his fans all the more.
Asked about his take on playing the IPL this year, when the event had to be shifted out of India due to the severe outbreak of Coronavirus there, Williamson showed guarded optimism late last month. ‘‘Considering what it actually looks like where it is and all the details that come with it, to play in the IPL is always an amazing thing so, absolutely, it will be great to play in it and be a part of it. But there’s a lot of details to come through before any final decisions will be made. It will be nice to know more,” Williamson was quoted as saying.
There had been, however, a series of developments since then with the IPL governing council confirming a 53-day window for the event to be held in the UAE and the Indian government clearing the move of shifting the tournament overseas ‘‘in principle.’’ Most of the eight franchises have started to quarantine their Indian players as they are expected to start arriving here from August 20 onwards to start acclimatisation camps.
Williamson has played 41 matches in the IPL so far, scoring 1302 runs in the lucrative tournament at an average nearly 39.