Williamson was first signed by the Sunrisers in 2015, and the move yielded immediate results as the Hyderabad team went on to win their first and only crown in 2016. In 2018, he was announced as the captain of the Sunrisers replacing David Warner who had been banned from the sport for a year following the ball tampering incident against South Africa.
Under Williamson’s captaincy, the Sunrisers finished runners-up following an eight-wicket win for the Chennai Super Kings in the final. But Williamson led from the front winning the Orange Cap for scoring the most runs (735) in 2018.
This year, the captaincy has reverted back to Warner, and Williamson is only too happy to be part of the Sunrisers set-up as they eye a second title.
Williamson — affectionately called ‘Kane Mama’ (Kane Uncle) by the Sunrisers’ Orange Army — was among the last players to join up with the squad last week. After that he went into a six-day quarantine period before commencing training with the team on Thursday.
“For most of us, it has been a long time without any cricket. So for me to be part of the IPL is incredible. It’s great and I know the guys are looking to get started,” Williamson said on the Sunrisers Twitter feed after attending his first practice session at the ICC Academy nets late on Thursday.
“It’s great to meet some of the new young players. Players come here from all around the world and they are used to their own conditions. I think one of the important parts of the tournament will be actually getting used to and adjusting to the conditions, as they vary throughout.
“The practice was good and it’s been nice to get into it after isolation, and very humid being outside rather than air-conditioned in our rooms. But, great to get out and train with the guys.”
Ahead of the auction held in December last year, the Sunrisers retained 18 and released five players, while buying up seven new players. They then parted ways with Tom Moody and Simon Helmot, while naming Trevor Bayliss and Brad Haddin as head coach and assistant coach respectively.
And then at the end of February, Warner was reinstated as captain of SRH, replacing Williamson. In addition, Sri Lankan great Muttiah Muralitharan is the bowling coach, while Indian star VVS Laxman is the mentor.
“It was nice to meet the new coaches and the new players as well,” Williamson admitted. “We’ve got a big squad here, so it’s been great to get around everybody.”
Playing without their fans is going to be a huge ask for all teams, and Williamson reckoned that the team would really need to give their best for their sake. “Not having the Orange Army fans is going to be a disadvantage as they are in Hyderabad,” he said. “But you know it’s sort of the way things need to be for a period of time to make sure everybody stays nice and safe and we’re able to see the tournament go ahead. So some of those sacrifices have to be made. I’m sure the guys will all get their heads around it and there will be really competitive cricket.”