Gujarat Titans: A new warrior on the battlefield

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Hardik Pandya will lead Gujarat Titans in IPL 2022

Gujarat Titans: A new warrior on the battlefield

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Nishad Bapat

03/28/2022

Gujarat Titans had made three excellent acquisitions ahead of the 2022 IPL auction by bringing in Hardik Pandya, Rashid Khan and Shubman Gill. The team will be looking forward to scripting a fairytale run winning the tournament on their debut, taking some inspiration from the inaugural season.

The 15th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is here and two new franchises are added to the list of contenders. One of them is Gujarat Titans which will be led by the flamboyant Hardik Pandya. The team will aim to announce their arrival on the scene by winning in the debut season, taking inspiration from Rajasthan Royals’ brilliance in 2008. With the odds stacked against them, GT will have to go up against nine other teams - eight of which have experience of playing in the rigorous league. Hardik’s leadership is still an area left to be explored and it will be interesting to see how he settles into the role. 

Having picked three stars ahead of the 2022 mega auction, GT decided to hand the reins of the team to local boy Hardik. As far as the other two signings were concerned, GT hit a home run with them as well. After stealing the world class Rashid Khan away from SRH, the signing of Shubhman Gill signalled their intent towards building for the future as well. In the auction, the team concentrated on strengthening their bowling unit as the acquisition of Lockie Ferguson, Mohammed Shami. Alzarri Joseph, Pradeep Sangwan, and Varun Aaron highlight. 

Gujarat Titans squad for IPL 2022

Hardik Pandya (c), Shubman Gill, Rashid Khan, Mohammed Shami, Lockie Ferguson, Abhinav Sadarangani, Rahul Tewatia, Noor Ahmad, R Sai Kishore, Dominic Drakes, Jayant Yadav, Vijay Shankar, Darshan Nalkande, Yash Dayal, Alzarri Joseph, Pradeep Sangwan, David Miller, Wriddhiman Saha, Matthew Wade, Gurkeerat Singh, Varun Aaron, B Sai Sudarshan.

Opening dilemma

Having picked up Jason Roy in the auction to go along with Gill looked to be one of the strongest opening pairs in the IPL. However, with Roy withdrawing from the season, the management now has an unnecessary headache to deal with. Whenever Gill has opened the innings in IPL, he has scored 1154 runs in 37 innings at an average of 33.9 while maintaining a strike rate of 122.4. To partner the Indian star, GT will now have to look towards Matthew Wade and Rahmanullah Gurbaz as the major options.

Shubhman Gill batting records in IPL © SportsCafe Graphics Team

Wade has 375 runs from 16 innings at 23.4 and a strike rate of 144.8 while batting as an opener in T20Is while Gurbaz has 449 runs from 15 innings at 29.9 and a strike rate of 141.6 in international T20 games. Gill, who usually prefers an attacking opener to compliment him, would be comfortable with either of the players.

A solid middle-order

Wridhhiman Saha, who has scored 2110 runs from 106 IPL innings at an average of 24.5, can bat at Number 3 as he has the ability to play the anchor role. While batting at 3, he has amassed 457 runs from 23 innings. For the No. 4 slot, GT have David Miller who can play according to the demand of the situation. Miller has 1971 runs from 85 innings at 33.4 and a strike rate of 136.3 in IPL. Vijay Shankar, who has 712 runs in 37 innings, will have a great shout to make the No. 5 spot his own and could even swap places with Miller if the need arises. Although he is not a power-hitter, he can score runs at a decent strike rate of 126.2.

Hardik Pandya batting records in IPL © SportsCafe Graphics Team

Hardik is another piece of the puzzle that the management have at their disposal. He could play anywhere in the line up but is likely to play the role of finisher for his side. Hardik has scored 1031 runs from 69 innings at a massive strike rate of 176.2 while batting in death overs in IPL. Rahul Tewatia has shown glimpses of his batting skills but he has not been able to carry the responsibility with any sort of consistency. While the former RR man has accumulated 300 runs from 25 innings with a decent strike rate of 153.1 in death overs, he might have to surrender the role of finisher to his captain in GT.

Multiple Bowling options

GT have plenty of pace bowling options in the squad with Mohammed Shami and Lockie Ferguson possessing the ability to trouble batsmen with their pace. The duo will probably take up the responsibility for the powerplay and death overs. Shami has scalped 79 wickets from 77 innings at an economy of 8.63 in the IPL while Ferguson has 24 wickets in the cash rich league. 

Rashid Khan is a world-class leg-spinner and needs no introduction. Over his career in the IPL, fans have witnessed his ability to spin a web around the batsmen handing SRH a major advantage over the years. Jayant Yadav and Rahul Tewatia will partner him in spin bowling department. With Jayant, eight wickets from 19 innings, and Tewatia, 32 wickets from 45 innings, not possessing the greatest of numbers, it will be Rashid who will have to lead from the front when it comes to GT’s debut season. Vijay Shankar can also roll his arms for the team with his medium pace but the biggest question will be the contribution of their captain. It is still a mystery whether Hardik will bowl in the IPL and if he does, this is one the most potent bowling units in the league.

Rashid Khan bowling records in IPL © Sportscafe Graphics Team

GT Probable XI for IPL 2022: Shubhman Gill, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), David Miller, Vijay Shankar, Hardik Pandya (c), Rahul Tewatia, Jayant Yadav, Rashid Khan, Mohammed Shami, Lockie Ferguson.

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