IPL 2023: 5 Players who can replace Kane Williamson as captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad

Aiden Markram, Abhishek Sharma, and Jason Holder
Aiden Markram, Abhishek Sharma, and Jason Holder. (Photo Source: Twitter)

With Kane Williamson’s shocking exit from Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) ahead of the 16th edition of the Indian Premier League, there’s room for a new captain to take over the 2016 title-winning franchise.

SRH took a lot of bold decisions in the last couple of years which saw some of the stalwarts of the game like David Warner and Rashid Khan leave the team alongside people from the team management including VVS Laxman, Trevor Bayliss and Tom Moody.

Ahead of the 2022 edition, the management appointed cricketing icon Brain Lara as their new Head Coach, Dale Steyn as their designated bowling coach, and Muttiah Muralitharan being the spin-bowling and strategic coach.

The team let 12 of their players leave including their skipper of the 2022 edition Kane Williamson, wicket-keeper batter Nicolas Pooran, Romario Shepherd, Sean Abbott among others ahead of the upcoming auction.

With that, going into the IPL mini-auction, SRH have the heaviest purse among all teams with INR 42.25 crores and are very likely to go after some of the big names. However, first thing first, who’s likely to lead them in the upcoming season? Here are five names who can be potentially appointed as the skipper of SRH for IPL 2023:

5. Abhishek Sharma

The Delhi Capitals’ formula of appointing a young Shreyas Iyer as the captain of the team firstly and then appointing Rishabh Pant worked really well for them. Even though the team is yet to clinch its maiden title, it has come close on several occasions. The Hyderabad franchise can walk on the same path in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League.

The 22-year-old Abhishek Sharma was phenomenal for the Hyderabad franchise in the last season. In 14 matches, Sharma scored 426 runs at a strike rate of 133.13. The Punjab-born cricketer was the leading run-scorer for Hyderabad in the last edition and thus, has proved that he belongs to the stage.

Even though he has no prior experience (substantial) of captaining a side, Hyderabad can back him to take up the role. Given his age and form, he remains to be an exciting prospect and SRH might look to invest in the young southpaw.

4. Jason Holder

Despite picking up 14 wickets in 12 matches for Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) in the 15th edition of the Indian Premier League, the LSG management decided to release Jason Holder ahead of the 16th edition of the competition. Although the move seems tough on the player, it can help the all-rounder return to his former team and fill the void which Kane Williamson’s departure has created.

Holder has vast experience in leadership, as the 31-year-old has led the West Indies for an extended period of time. He is someone who’s very good at reading the game and given his history for Hyderabad, he knows how the franchise functions in different circumstances. Thus, Holder can be the best pick for the franchise going forward.

In a total of 38 matches that he has played in the cash-rich league, Holder has picked up 49 wickets at an economy rate of 8.57 and scored 247 runs at a strike rate of 123.50.

3. Aiden Markram

South Africa’s middle-order batter Aiden Markram can be the ideal replacement of Kane Williamson because of his approach in white-ball cricket.

Even though Markram has not led South Africa’s senior side for an extended period or any team in the Indian Premier League, his approach in the format can help him be the next possible skipper of Sunrisers.

In the last season, the 28-year-old was impressive for Hyderabad, scoring 381 runs in 14 matches. At a strike rate of 139.05, Markram became a pillar in the middle order. He showed enough confidence and backed his ability time and again – something that impressed the fans a lot during the course of the season.

His performance in the recently concluded T20 World Cup was average but his 50 against India in the Super 12 stage displayed how mature he has become as a player.

He has proved himself in the Indian sub-continent and most importantly, despite being a foreign player, Markram is likely to feature regularly in the playing XI. At this moment, the South Africa international is ticking most of the boxes and thus, remains the favourite to become the next captain of SRH.

2. Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has led Hyderabad in the past and can take up the responsibility once again. The pacer will be the safest choice as he has spent a lot of time in the franchise and knows everything in and out. He has served SRH as the vice-captain for many years too and thus, the time seems to be right for him to step up and lead the team to glory.

However, his record as captain in the Indian Premier League has been very poor, to say the least. In seven matches, the 32-year-old has managed to bag wins in only two games and conceded five.

His recent form too hasn’t been very encouraging but because of his history and legacy at Sunrisers Hyderabad, Bhuvi – as he is fondly addressed, can be in line to become the next skipper of the Hyderabad-based franchise.

1. Ben Stokes

Other than being a phenomenal cricketer, Ben Stokes has proved himself as a brilliant leader. After missing out on the IPL last year, the Englishman will be returning to the marquee event this year and Sunrisers Hyderabad must be eyeing the all-rounder.

In 11 matches as captain of England so far, the 31-year-old won eight matches, and lost just two. He had a massive impact on England’s successful campaign in the 2019 ODI World Cup and during 2022 T20 World Cup. Thus, is someone who can perform under pressure. A lot of franchises are expected to bid for Stokes but courtesy of a big purse, Hyderabad seem to be leading the race.

In the 43 matches that he has played so far in the Indian Premier League, Stokes has scored 920 runs at a strike rate of 134.50. He has also picked up 28 wickets at an economy rate of 8.56. His inclusion will definitely give Hyderabad a lot of confidence and given his form, he can be an asset to the franchise going forward.

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