WHEN LAST year’s winners Sunrisers Hyderabad face home team Kings XI Punjab in their ninth match of this edition of the Indian Premier League at the IS Bindra PCA Stadium, it will also be an opportunity for medium-pacer Barinder Sran to play at his home ground against the Punjab team.
Sran, who had claimed 14 wickets in 14 IPL matches last year, has only played one match this season and is making a comeback, having spent his time at the NCA, Bengaluru, after multiple injuries last year. While Patiala youngster Siddarth Kaul has shared the fast bowling in three matches with purple cap holder Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sran’s experience at playing in Mohali and being a left-arm pacer will make Sunrisers’ coach Tom Moody think of including Sran against Kings XI Punjab.
“Fitness is the key and I am bowling good in the nets. I played in one match but there was a bit of pressure on me as I was making a comeback and was returning to the game after four to five months. But, I am bowling with rhythm now. Mohali is the home ground for me and I know the conditions and wickets here. Hopefully, if I get to play, I will perform better here,” said Sran, who originally belongs to Panni Wala Morrika village near Sirsa, Haryana, and trains under coach Amit Uniyal in Chandigarh.
Sran, who initially trained as boxer in Bhiwani, took up cricket in 2009 and after eight first class matches for Punjab and picking up 14 wickets last year, made his debut in Australia where he picked up three wickets at his debut match in Perth. But, a stress fracture in his right foot meant that the left-arm pacer had to return home while playing for India A from the quadrangular series in Australia last year. Sran stayed away from the game for more than six months and missed the domestic season for Punjab while rehabilitating at NCA. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar leading the Sunrisers attack this season, Sran has sought tips from Kumar as well as the experienced Ashish Nehra, also a left-arm pacer. “Nehra paji knows how to handle injuries and how to stay match fit and resume bowling. He is also a left-arm seamer and he told me how to control the front arm while bowling and he always tells me that I have a closer-to-the-wicket action and it will help me. Bhuvi paji also talks to me regarding my bowling. Yuvraj Singh has been my captain for Punjab and as a teammate in Sunrisers Hyderabad, he also keeps giving inputs when he is on the ground,” said 24-year-old Sran.
Coach Amit Uniyal believes that it was hard for Sran to miss the action but rehabilitation has helped the seamer. “Of course it was a big setback as he was eyeing a good performance in the Australia tour for India A ahead of the Test matches in India. He had done well in ODI and T-20 and to make it to the Test squad would have been good for him. Spending time with Bhuvneshwar and Ashish Nehra will help his bowling and a good performance in the rest of the matches in IPL will boost his confidence,” claimed 38-year-old Uniyal, who runs two academies in Chandigarh.
Yuvraj unlikely to play
Meanwhile, Yuvraj Singh is unlikely to play for Sunrisers in today’s match. The left-handed batsman is suffering from flu and the team management is expected to take a call. “Yuvraj has been down with flu for the last few days and the team management will decide about his availability for the match. The team has been playing well and our bowlers have done well. Rashid Khan, too, has done well in the spin department and this has helped the team,” shared Sunrisers’ coach Tom Moody.
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