“With Dale Steyn and Ishant Sharma as our spearheads, we will make an impact,” said Kumar Sangakkara, skipper of Sunrisers Hyderabad at a function announcing makemytrip.com as principal sponsor of the Hyderabad-based Indian Premier League (IPL) side.
Ruing the dropped catches last season and the absence of Ishant, he drew notice to the long-haired speedster’s good showing against Australia recently as ample indication of his form and fitness.
“The build-up has been different this time, since it has been a difficult time for Sri Lankan players,” Sangakkara said.
Sunrisers coach Tom Moody saw the overseas players as the side’s strong point. “A fit Ishant will help as well as the youth in the side,” the towering Australian said. “In each season of the IPL one or two players have sprung a surprise. I’m hoping there’ll be one or two rising stars from our squad too,” he added.
Later drawing lots on travel questions in a cramped hotel hall, where the microphones failed frequently, Sangakkara said flights were top priority, followed by accommodation.
Moody stood up to illustrate a point when dealing with irritants on holidays. “On flight seats, my knees come up to my chin,” he said alluding to limited leg-space.
Ishant seconded him when asked to list his funniest travel story. When asked what would be five must-haves on travel, a jet-lagged Cameron White said, “The passport would be first, followed by a phone, ipad, computer and so on.
“I hope Sunrisers become the surprisers,” said Deep Kalra, CEO & Founder, makemytrip.com. “It’s our first foray into sponsorship of this kind, because cricket gets the whole country going,” he said.
While not revealing the financial commitment involved, Kalra said the present agreement was for a year, with scope to renew it subsequently. A TV commercial would go on air shortly, featuring Dhawan, Ishant and White, he said.
“We have the right of refusal at the end of this season and may explore extension for two or three years,” he said, suggesting decision-making based on performance. “This is a new brand and we have a lot in common,” Kalra added, hoping it would be a “resurrection” for Sunrisers.