Hyderabad skipper Kumar Sangakkara, ahead of his team’s maiden Indian T20 League encounter this season against Pune, urged his players to play to their strengths more than anything else when they take the field in Hyderabad on Friday.
“It is going to be a tough game. Pune have got a very good team. They have some great players. We are just looking to play to our strengths. We had good discussions about what we are trying to do. Hopefully, we will execute everything well and the way we have planned, I think we can hold around against any team,” Sangakkara told reporters on the eve of the match.
The Hyderabad franchise has been a mixed bag so far in the five editions of the T20 League when they were owned by the Deccan Chronicle. Though they went on to win the title in 2009, the team could not pull off any other stunning achievements and often found it very tough to make it amongst the top four sides every year. Sangakkara who is leading a revamped side this year, wants his players to get the execution part of planning right this year, every single time they take the field.
“You know, you always draw up specific plans but the real key is executing them on the field. It does not matter how well you really plan, if you don’t do your job on the field. We just want to keep things as simple as possible, play some good cricket, be very competitive in this tournament and then once we played the first match, then we will understand more, probably better, where we are at the moment and build from there again,” the Sri Lankan explained.
The side will be without the services of Shikhar Dhawan, who picked up a hand injury in the recently concluded Australia series, for a few games and Sangakkara said it is a big loss for them, especially considering he played really well at the top last year. But he was also very quick to acknowledge the fact that it is an opportunity for another youngster to show his skills.
“Shikhar Dhawan is out for a couple of more weeks. I think it is a huge loss. I watched him scoring that magnificent century for India against Australia in his debut Test. The last two seasons Shikhar has been an integral part of our team and it is unfortunate that we lost him. It is a great blow,” he said.
“But, we got replacements who are probably good enough to do the job and we are excited to give that opportunity to a younger guy. We are looking forward to have Shikhar back as soon as possible,” added Sangakkara.