India pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be reportedly leading the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in their opening match of IPL 2023 against Rajasthan Royals at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on April 2, in absence of newly-appointed regular skipper Aiden Markram.
As per a report in ESPNCricinfo, Markram is in South Africa for the upcoming two-match ODI series against the Netherlands and is expected to arrive India along with his other IPL-bound national side teammates only on April 3.
“The series is crucial for South Africa’s direct qualification for the ODI World Cup, to be played in India later this year. They need to win both ODIs against the Netherlands (without over-rate penalties) and then hope Ireland lose at least one ODI against Bangladesh in a three-match home series in May,” it added.
With Markram to miss SRH’s opening game in IPL 2023, Bhuvneshwar will be the SRH captain however, the franchise is still to make an official announcement.
Notably, Bhuvneshwar has been part of the SRH squad since their inception in 2013 and captained the side in six games in the 2019 IPL and once in the 2022 edition, with the team winning twice out of seven occasions.
The report further added that apart from Markram, Marco Jansen and Heinrich Klaasen will also be unavailable for the first match for SRH due to South Africa’s ODIs against the Netherlands. It leaves Sunrisers with only five overseas players — Harry Brook, Glenn Phillips, Adil Rashid, Fazalhaq Farooqi and Akeal Hosein — to choose from for their opening game of IPL 2023.
After the side released Kane Williamson’s post finishing in eighth place in IPL 2022, Markram was named the captain of SRH.
Markram, 28, was recently also named as South Africa’s new T20I captain and led Sunrisers Eastern Cape to the inaugural SA20 title earlier this year, apart from being the third leading run-getter of the tournament.
Sunrisers’ second game of IPL 2023 is on April 7, against Lucknow Super Giants at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow.