Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on Thursday appointed legendary West Indies batsman Brian Lara as its strategic advisor and batting coach while former Australia batter Simon Katich as an assistant coach.
Katich had most recently served as the head coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) before withdrawing out of the UAE leg of IPL 2021 for personal reasons and will replace compatriot Brad Haddin.
Lara will now join a new-look support staff which also includes former India cricketer Hemang Badani in a dual role of fielding coach and scout while former South Africa pacer Dale Steyn will join the franchise as the team’s bowling coach.
The decision to recruit an all-new support staffs comes in the wake of a dismal 2021 season where the Orange Army had finished at the bottom of the eight-team standings.
Meanwhile, the franchise has also parted ways with head coach Trevor Bayliss, who has been replaced by Tom Moody.
SRH however, decided to retain spin great Muttiah Muralitharan in their support staff. Muralitharan will serve as the strategy and spin bowling coach of the Orange Army.
Notably, the next edition of the cash-rich league, which will now be a ten-team affair following the addition of Ahmedabad and Lucknow recently, is most likely to begin on April 2 in Chennai.
According to reports, the fixtures of the upcoming season have not been finalised yet however, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has internally conveyed to the key stakeholders that the board is planning to start the 16th edition of the lucrative league on April 2 in Chennai.
As the next season will have a total of 74 games, the BCCI has discussed internally that the length of the season will be for over 60 days. As a result, the final could be played in the first weekend of June.
In the revised format, each team will have 14 league games with the current format of seven home and away games each retained.
Meanwhile, as the MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) are the defending champions, Chepauk stadium will be the obvious choice for the inaugural game however, there is no formal call on whether their opponents will, again, be Mumbai Indians, which has been the case mostly.
Recently, in his speech at CSK’s fourth IPL win celebration event in Chennai, board secretary Jay Shah had said that the IPL will be making a return to India after the entire 2020 season and a half-season of 2021 edition were staged in the UAE due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I know you all are waiting to see the CSK play at Chepauk. Well, the moment is not very far. The 15th season of the IPL will take place in India and it will be more exciting than ever with two new teams joining. We have a mega auction coming up, so it will be interesting to see what the new combinations look like,” Shah had said at the function in November.