In this series, we compile all-time XIs for each IPL team. The rules are simple: the player has to have played at least 20 matches for the franchise (across the IPL and the CLT20), one player is eligible for selection in multiple franchises if he so merits, and only four overseas players can be picked.
Sunrisers Hyderabad/Deccan Chargers
We're calling this the Sunrisers Hyderabad all-time XI, but we have considered players from Deccan Chargers too for selection. We debated this, and finally decided that since the playing group didn't change when the management did, we would consider them one entity. It also gives players who did well for the Chargers a selection avenue. Two IPL titles and four straight years of qualifying for the play-offs since 2016 suggest some very good players and a very favourable success ratio. While that is true, there were still some challenges to picking an all-time XI, thanks to the bowling-heavy avatar that the franchise has had. In a sense, it is almost the anti-RCB, with a surfeit of bowling options, but a bit of a struggle to pick batsmen. That the franchise has two titles - beating RCB in both finals coincidentally - perhaps tells a tale of which discipline helps win tournaments.
David Warner, Rashid Khan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were straightforward picks. Each of them have been almost synonymous with SRH's success. With the inclusion of the Chargers' players, Adam Gilchrist also makes it - forming a dream opening combination with Warner. Both men have led the franchise to titles, and Gilchrist's win in 2009 came on the back of a wooden-spoon finish in 2008 - but we decided to give the captaincy reins to Warner, since Gilchrist will be keeping wickets too. Shikhar Dhawan may be with the other DC now - Delhi Capitals - but he's still the top scorer for the two franchises combined, shading Warner by 466 runs. With both Warner and Gilchrist there though, Dhawan will bat at No. 3.
The struggle to pick SRH sides involved filling up batting spots. At first, Dale Steyn was thought to be a walk-in selection. He has 71 wickets for the two franchises combined - second only to Bhuvneshwar - and his economy rate of 6.68 is outstanding. But picking Steyn would mean no more overseas slots available, since Warner, Gilchrist and Rashid already occupy three. And the fact of the matter is, that while there are decent pace options available (even if not Steyn quality), we struggled to pick Indian batsmen. Which meant Steyn had to be replaced by Kane Williamson. It was not an easy decision, but team dynamics demanded it.
The paucity of batsmen is best reflected in the fact that for the role of the No. 6, we had to go back to Rohit Sharma. He had done an excellent job for the Chargers, before becoming the face of Mumbai Indians, and in fact is still the fifth highest scorer for the two franchises combined. Gilchrist is fourth, and both have played only three seasons - as telling a stat as any on the franchise's batting troubles. Rohit in his 2008-2010 avatar was a middle-order batsman and a finisher, who occasionally rolled his arm over too. He is picked in that capacity for this side.
The bowling line-up is potent though, with Amit Mishra, RP Singh and Pragyan Ojha added to the roster. Singh and Ojha were superb for Deccan, while Mishra straddled both franchises well. His legspin is distinct from Rashid's and both in tandem would be a compelling sight. There was still one spot to fill, and with only five batsmen so far, it had to go to another batsman. That meant we had no room for a Siddarth Kaul or Sandeep Sharma, both of whom had done much better for the franchise in absolute terms than any batsman available for selection. The batting spot came down to Yuvraj Singh or Manish Pandey. While Yuvraj's average (27.11) and strike rate (137.07) compare reasonably with Pandey's (33.05 and 123.37), we went with Pandey because he showed a significant upward trend in the latter half of the last season and has sustained his numbers for more matches than Yuvraj.
In terms of balance, the team has a top four who might all be more comfortable opening the batting, but that is down to how the franchise has built its squad over the years, and who have performed well. Rashid at No. 7 might feel one spot too high, but with the bowling attack this team has and the quality of the top order, going a bit light on batting might not matter.
Incidentally, there are plenty of individual achievements in this side. Warner won the Orange Cap in 2015, 2017 and 2019, while Williamson did so in 2018. Singh and Ojha won the Purple Cap in 2009 and 2010, while Bhuvneshwar won it in 2016 and 2017.
Playing XI stats for SRH
1. David Warner
71 matches (2014-2019)
Runs 3271, Ave 55.44, SR 146.87
2. Adam Gilchrist
48 matches (2008-2010)
Runs 1289, Ave 27.42, SR 147.82
3. Shikhar Dhawan
120 matches (2011-2018)
Runs 3737, Ave 35.59, SR 126.20
4. Kane Williamson
41 matches (2015-19)
Runs 1302, Ave 38.29, SR 135.06
5. Manish Pandey
27 matches (2018-19)
Runs 628, Ave 33.05, SR 123.37
6. Rohit Sharma
47 matches (2008-10)
Runs 1219, Ave 30.47, SR 130.37 Wickets 14, Ave 25.14, ER 7.33
7. Rashid Khan
46 matches (2017-19)
Wickets 55, Ave 21.69, ER 6.55
8. B Kumar
86 matches (2014-2019)
Wickets 109, Ave 22.33, ER 7.41
9. Amit Mishra
61 matches (2011-2014)
Wickets 62, Ave 25.38, ER 7.29
10. Pragyan Ojha
56 matches (2008-2011)
Wickets 62, Ave 22.19, ER 7.08
11. RP Singh
44 matches (2008-2010)
Wickets 54, Ave 23.59, ER 7.91
Want to pick your own DC/SRH all-time XI? Head over to our readers' voting page here.
For more all-time IPL XIs, click here.