Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) star batsman Kane Williamson, who scored 317 runs in 11 innings during the 2020 edition of IPL T20, was benched in his side’s opening fixture of IPL 2021 against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
Jonny Bairstow replaced Williamson at No.4, and the right-handed batsman didn’t disappoint as he scored 55 off 40 but failed to take his team over the finish line. SRH lost their first game of the season by just ten runs.
After their opening encounter at Chepauk, SRH head coach Trevor Bayliss revealed why Williamson wasn’t picked in the final XI.
Bayliss said that the Black Caps skipper needs more time to gain match fitness. The former Australian first-class cricketer also added that had Kane been fit, he would have played in place of Bairstow.
“We just felt that Kane needed a little bit of extra time to get match fit and a little bit more time in the nets,” Bayliss said in the post-match press conference.
“He would have played in place of Jonny Bairstow obviously if that had occurred. But we aren’t too perturbed about that, Jonny has been in form recently in white-ball cricket here in India. Kane will obviously come into calculations as the tournament unfolds.”
Bayliss also made it clear that England’s Bairstow, who bats at No. 4 in T20Is but mostly opens in ODIs, is one of SRH’s options for the opening slot.
“Depending on fitness and form, we know Jonny can open the batting and keep as well. It gives us options but yes he has done well for England at number 4 recently,” added the 58-year-old.
Sunrisers next IPL match is against the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on April 14 at the same venue.