Sunrisers Hyderabad head coach Trevor Bayliss has revealed that New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson needs more time to get match fit. Williamson was a surprising exclusion from the SRH playing XI for their tournament opener against Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday (April 11). Williamson appeared to have nailed down a middle order spot going into the new season after impressing in the role last year in the UAE.
However, England wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow was named in the side and batted at number 4, eventually scoring a fifty in a losing cause. "We just felt that Kane needed a little bit of extra time to get match fit and a little bit more time in the nets," Bayliss said after the game. "He would have played in place of Jonny Bairstow obviously if that had occurred. But we aren't too perturbed about that, Jonny has been in form recently in white-ball cricket here in India. Kane will obviously come into calculations as the tournament unfolds."
Even though he refused to confirm if Bairstow would continue batting at 4 for SRH, Bayliss did acknowledge the Englishman's adaptability. Despite opening with a lot of success in the past for SRH and for England in ODI cricket in recent years, Bairstow has taken up a role in the middle order for the national side in the T20 format. The SRH coach revealed that they would continue to reward last season's performers as they helped the side turn their fortunes around and make a late dash into the playoffs.
"At the moment what we wanted to do is reward the guys who finished the tournament last year," Bayliss noted. "We got off to a slow start last tournament but came back well to reach the finals (playoffs). Someone like Saha opening and batting so well in that tournament we felt we should reward the guys who finished it so well for us last year.
"Depending on fitness and form, we know Jonny can open the batting and keep as well. It gives us options but yes he has done well for England at number 4 recently."
Needing 57 off 24 balls at one stage, SRH promoted Vijay Shankar ahead of big-hitter Abdul Samad - a move that drew flak from several quarters. While the experienced seam bowling allrounder made only 11 from 7, Samad struck Pat Cummins for a couple of sixes in his short stay as SRH fell just 10 runs short. Bayliss reasoned that Vijay was promoted ahead of Samad due to his form in the practice games recently.