Speculation is mounting David Warner’s dumping from his IPL side is not just based on on-field performances.

Sunrisers Hyderabad coach Trevor Bayliss admits his team faces a big challenge without the axed David Warner, as intrigue grows around the reason why the opening batsman was dropped.

Warner was stripped of the captaincy and then dumped from the playing 11, despite a solid, if unspectacular tournament to date.

He’s passed 30 in four of his six innings so far in IPL11, and is the team’s second highest runscorer for the tournament.

Interestingly, he’s scored the same number of runs as Manish Pandey, who missed two games last week, with Warner openly criticising the team’s decision to omit the Indian.

“It was a harsh call in my opinion. But at the end of the day, it is a decision of the selectors to do that,” Warner said last week.

Warner has been replaced as captain by Kiwi Kane Williamson, and Bayliss says his side, who have won just one of their seven matches and sit last on the table, will struggle to make the finals.

“(It’s) very challenging without David as a player (and) a new captain,” Bayliss said after the team’s latest loss, a 55-run thrashing at the hands of Rajasthan Royals.

“Like any player who gets dropped he (Warner) was disappointed, but he was charging around as 12th man, doing as much as he could for the team, even cleaning up the bottles at the end I noticed.

“He’s obviously disappointed but he’s done the right thing.”

South African great Dale Steyn has added further fuel to the fire, suggesting Warner’s dumping was the result of his comments about Pandey’s omission last week.

“There’s something going on there — I don’t know what’s going on there, really,” Steyn told ESPNCricinfo.

“I don’t know whether David may have questioned some of the decisions they had made, maybe when Manish Pandey was left out. I heard him say something along the lines of it wasn’t his decision or it was out of his hands.

“Sometimes management don’t appreciate that.

“The captain of the team needs to take ownership of this squad and know who is going out onto the field, and sometimes that gets taken out of their hands.

“It seems like there’s definitely something happening behind closed doors that the public are not aware of.”

Warner captained Sunrisers Hyderabad to the title in 2016, when the team was coached by former Australian all-rounder Tom Moody, who rejoined the franchise this year as director as cricket.

Moody said before the match against Rajasthan that Warner had been dropped purely for team balance, with each side restricted to four overseas players.

“He’s not going to be playing in this particular game and that’s purely a decision based on combination,” he said.

“We’ve come to the conclusion that at this stage, we feel the two overseas bat (Williamson and Jonny Bairstow), an all-rounder (Mohammad Nabi) and Rashid Khan is our best combination.

“We looked at it very closely …. and we had to make a hard call and someone had to miss out, and unfortunately for Davey it’s him.”

All four overseas players had little impact on the result for Sunrisers, with Bairstow making 30 off 21 balls and Williamson 20 off 21.

Mohammad Nabi’s solitary over went for 21, while he made a quickfire 17 off five with the bat, while Rashid Khan was economical, taking 1-24 off his four overs.

Jos Buttler made 124 from 64 balls in Rajasthan’s total of 3-220, with Sunrisers finishing well short with 8-165.

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