In a surprising turn of events for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 season, Sunrisers Hyderabad has handed over the captaincy reins to Australian pace spearhead Pat Cummins, a decision that has raised eyebrows, including those of seasoned Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. The choice comes in light of Sunrisers Hyderabad securing Cummins for a whopping Rs 20.5 crore, marking him as the second most expensive player in IPL’s illustrious history.

Cummins, renowned for his leadership during Australia’s popular victories in the Ashes series, the World Test Championship, and the recent 2023 ODI World Cup, will take on the challenge of captaining a T20 franchise for the first time. His entry into Sunrisers Hyderabad adds him to a roster glittering with international talent, including the likes of Travis Head, Wanindu Hasaranga, Heinrich Klaasen, and Fazalhaq Farooqi.

‘Problem of plenty’

However, Ravichandran Ashwin has voiced his shock at the team’s decision to overlook Aiden Markram, who, by leading Sunrisers Eastern Cape to back-to-back titles in South Africa’s high-profile T20 league, has proved his mettle as a captain. Ashwin’s sentiment resonates with a segment of cricket enthusiasts and experts who have witnessed Markram’s strategic and inspiring leadership firsthand.

Sunrisers have hit two titles back to back at the SA20. They’ve done it with two extraordinary teams. I was quite shocked, actually. They have made Pat Cummins the captain. I was having a small hunch that they would go with Markram.

Ravichandran Ashwin, YouTube

Moreover, Ashwin’s strategic acumen brings to the fore another vital factor – the inclusion of spinner Wanindu Hasaranga. As a versatile and skilled player, Hasaranga’s role is poised to be a defining element for the Sunrisers in the eagerly awaited season.

Will SRH prove the critics wrong?

The unexpected choice of leadership signifies a bold move from the franchise, especially considering Markram’s evident success and reputation as a captain in T20 cricket. It seems Ashriners Hyderabad is prepared to gamble on Cummins’ ability to translate his Test leadership skills to the fast-paced, dynamic world of Twenty20 cricket.

As debates stir and predictions fly, all eyes will be on Pat Cummins to justify his hefty price tag and lead a team of diverse stars towards IPL glory. Will Cummins’ lack of T20 captaincy experience be overshadowed by his strategic prowess honed in other formats, or will the echoes of Ashwin’s surprise prove prophetic? The 2024 season of the IPL eagerly awaits the answer.

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