Kane Williamson © BCCI
Kane Williamson © BCCI

Hyderabad will be playing their first match of the Indian T20 league against Rajasthan at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium on Monday, without their captains David Warner and Steven Smith. The shocking ball-tampering scandal that broke out during the South Africa Test series saw Smith, Warner and Cameron Bancroft admitting to their crime. It followed with a 12-month ban on Smith and Warner. Subsequently they also stepped down as the captain of Hyderabad and Rajasthan respectively.

Warner is deeply missing all the action and took to Twitter to wish his team good luck ahead of their clash against Rajasthan. VVS Laxman, too, rued Warner’s absence but at the same time backed the new Hyderabad skipper Kane Williamson: “Quite obviously, the loss of David Warner in unfortunate circumstances is a big blow, that is stating the obvious, but we feel that even so, we have the resources to mount a strong challenge. Kane Williamson is a wonderful batsman and an inspirational leader, and we are confident he will ensure a seamless transition,” as mentioned on The Times of India (TOI).

Despite Warner’s absence from the side, Hyderabad look a strong team on paper having the likes of vice-captain Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Hooda, Shakib Al Hasan, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Alex Hales, Wriddhiman Saha, Yusuf Pathan and likes.

Laxman is confident Hyderabad can start off the tournament on a flying note with a well-rounded side: “The depth in our batting and the variety in our bowling means we have the luxury of playing different combinations depending on the conditions and the opposition without having to make compromises. We have two matches in our backyard before we start travelling, and as a group, we would love to get two wins under our belt so that we can carry that positive energy with us when we hit the road.”