Australian great Tom Moody says David Warner was axed as SunRisers Hyderabad captain and subsequently dropped from the team for the overall balance of the team.
Warner’s axing from the XI was confirmed on Sunday evening, with the Australian star batsman dropped and New Zealander Kane Williamson taking on the captaincy against Rajasthan Royals in Delhi.
The news wasn’t a surprise.
It was hinted in the SunRisers’ media release on Saturday night a change was likely.
“The team management has also made the decision that they will be changing their overseas combination for tomorrow’s match against Rajasthan Royals,” the release read.
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SunRisers are coached by Australian Trevor Bayliss, with World Cup-winner Moody the director of cricket.
“We had to make the hard call,” Moody said.
“Somebody has to miss out and unfortunately, it’s him. He’s shocked and disappointed. Anyone would be disappointed. He has come to terms with the logic behind what we want to achieve from a franchise’s perspective.
“He has rallied around the team and more importantly the team has rallied around him. I don’t think what’s happened in the past isn’t as relevant and we have made some significant changes in the group in the last 24-48 hours.”
The SunRisers are last in the competition, having won just one match.
Warner, who led the franchise to the title in 2016, has scored two half-centuries in the tournament but his strike rate (110) has been criticised.
In their recent seven-wicket loss, Warner made 57 from 55 deliveries.
Former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori described his axing as “staggering”.
Warner sits fifth on the all-time IPL runscorers list behind only Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma — but his average and strike rate is the highest of the top five.
Moody added Warner’s axing came down to the balance of the side, with only four foreign players allowed to feature in the XI.
The SunRisers brought in Mohammad Nabi to the XI to play the Royals, while Williamson, Jonny Bairstow and Rashid Khan have been retained.
Bairstow came into the match as the eighth leading runscorer in the 2021 IPL season and has a superior average (43.60) and strike rate (141.55) compared to Warner’s.
Williamson (108 runs) is yet to be removed after three innings and is striking at 135.
“He (David Warner) is not going to be playing in this game and that’s purely a decision based on the combination,” Moody said.
“We’ve come to the conclusion that at this stage two overseas bat, an all-rounder and Rashid Khan is our best combination. We looked at it very closely. Obviously Bairstow’s form and Williamson’s form is at a great height and we are very thrilled with the way they are playing.”
Williamson won the toss and opted to bowl first. It was a decision he might have rued, with the Royals making 220 off the back of Jos Buttler’s 64-ball 124.
Meanwhile, Warner was confined to 12th man duties, where he was seen running out the helmet to his teammates.