Indian pace veteran Bhuvneshwar Kumar will lead Sunrisers Hyderabad in their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 season opener against Rajasthan Royals in Hyderabad on April 2 in the absence of the newly-appointed skipper Aiden Markram, who will miss out on the match due to his international cricket commitments for South Africa.
Markram, who was appointed as the skipper of SRH ahead of the season, is a part of South Africa’s two-match ODI series against the Netherlands, which will start on Thursday and will conclude on April 2. Markram will arrive in India only on April 3, as per ESPNCricinfo.
These two ODIs are extremely crucial for the Proteas, who are aiming for a direct qualification to the 2023 50-over World Cup, which will take place in India from October-November. They will have to win both ODIs against the Dutch (without any over-rate penalties) and hope that Ireland loses at least one ODI of three matches against Bangladesh in England during May.
Only the top eight sides in the Super League standings will gain a direct entry into the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. With 78 points in their kitty, the Proteas are currently placed ninth on the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League standings. Two wins against Netherlands (each game carries 10 points) in the upcoming series, will see them overtake West Indies (currently in eighth place with 88 points) and position them well for direct qualification to the mega event in India.
Bhuvneshwar has been with SRH since its inception in 2013 and has led them in past during six matches back in 2019 and once in 2022. Sunrisers emerged victorious in only two of these matches.
Following an eighth-place finish in 2022, the Sunrisers revamped their squad. The churn involved releasing then-skipper Kane Williamson and handing over the captaincy to Markram, who had led Sunrisers Eastern Cape to the inaugural SA20 title. He also finished as the tournament’s third-highest run-getter, scoring 366 runs in 12 matches with a century and fifty. He also took 11 wickets at an economy rate of 6.19 with his spin bowling. Markram’s performances made him the ‘Man of the Tournament’ as well.
Apart from Markram, Marco Jansen and Heinrich Klassen will also not be available for the first match. Sunrisers willl be left with only five overseas options: Harry Brook, Glenn Phillips, Adil Rashid, Fazalhaq Farooqi and Akeal Hosein — to choose from for their first match.
Sunrisers will play their second match against Lucknow Super Giants in Lucknow on April 7. (ANI)