Sunrisers Hyderabad head coach Trevor Bayliss said New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson was left out of their opening IPL match against Kolkata Knight Riders as he needs more time to be match fit. Highlights | Scorecard | Points Table
Batting at number four, Williamson had scored 317 runs in 11 innings for SRH last season, while Bairstow was equally impressive with 345 runs after opening the innings in the previous edition in the UAE.
"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 after SRH lost to KKR by 10 runs on Sunday night.
"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."
Bairstow made 55 batting at number four but Wriddhiman Saha, who opened the innings, was dismissed cheaply for seven runs on Sunday night.
Saha had made an instant impact as an opener last year when SRH rested Bairstow to accommodate Jason Holder in the playing XI and find the right balance after a mid-tournament slump.
It worked as the Sunrisers reached the play-offs where they lost to Delhi Capitals in the Qualifier 2.
"At the moment what we wanted to do is reward the guys who finished the tournament last year," Bayliss said.
"We got off to a slow start last tournament but came back well to reach the finals (playoffs). Someone like Saha opening and batting so well in that tournament we felt we should reward the guys who finished it so well for us last year."
However, Bayliss made it clear that Bairstow, who plays at no 4 in T20Is but opens in ODIs for England, remains one of the 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," said the 58-year-old from Australia.
SRH had promoted Vijay Shankar ahead of Abdul Samad with the team requiring 57 off last 24 balls.
However, the move didn't work as Shankar could score only 11 off 7 balls, while Samad smashed Pat Cummins for a couple of maximums. SRH eventually fell short by 10 runs.
"Vijay, in our practice matches that we had a few days ago, was our best player," Bayliss said.
"He struck the ball beautifully and made 95 in one of the games, hit a lot of the balls long way over the fence. It's always difficult in those situations whenever you go in you have to go pretty much from the first ball you face.
"Samad in a short space of time last IPL and this one has shown that he has a lot of talent and is a clean striker of the ball. I think as he gets more experience, he will get more opportunities."
Sunrisers Hyderabad will next face Royal Challengers Bangalore in Chennai on Wednesday.
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