As the Indian Premier League enters its 15th season, the league has grown from an eight-team league to a ten-team tournament. Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Super Giants are the two new clubs in the big T20 competition. The IPL mega auction ended on February 13, with all 10 clubs having finalised their squads for the 2022 season. However, before the mega auction, there was a player draught in which the two new teams were able to build the basis of their squads.
Hardik Pandya, an Indian all-rounder, has been named captain of the Gujarat Titans for a fee of Rs 15 crore. Apart from Pandya, the Titans also drafted Rashid Khan, a former Sunrisers Hyderabad spinner, for Rs 15 crore and Shubman Gill, a promising Indian hitter, for Rs 7 crore.
The Gujarat Titans made several high-priced acquisitions at the auction table. Lockie Ferguson, a fast bowler from New Zealand, proved to be their most expensive acquisition, with the Titans paying Rs 10 crore for him. They also spent a lot of money on Rahul Tewatia, an Indian all-rounder, paying Rs 9 crore for him. Mohammed Shami, who cost Rs 6.25 crore, became the Titan’s third-most expensive acquisition.
The Gujarat Titans also signed well-known international players such as Matthew Wade, Jason Roy, David Miller, and Alzarri Joseph. They will also have the services of Wriddhiman Saha, Vijay Shankar, and Pradeep Sangwan, who are all seasoned cricketers.
Gujarat Titans Squad:
Hardik Pandya, Rashid Khan, Shubman Gill, Mohammed Shami, Jason Roy, 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 Sudharshan.
Strengths – Bowling
The squad’s strength is in the bowling section. The Titans have done well to build a well-rounded bowling roster comprised of a good mix of local and international talent. Typically, every side in the league plans to construct their bowling assault around an India fast bowler. The Gujarat Titans have pretty well sealed that berth by bringing in Mohammad Shami. Shami has been outstanding for the Punjab Kings in the previous two seasons, picking wickets upfront and being frugal in the death overs.
Weaknesses- Fragile middle-order
Gujarat Titans have an excellent bowling attack, which cannot be disputed. However, the team’s batting can be a weakness. When it comes to batsmanship, the side lead by Hardik Pandya looks to be lacking. Jason Roy, the team’s proven starter, is on the roster. However, when faced with high-quality spin bowling, the Englishman has frequently revealed a few chinks in his armour. When he plays in India, the aggressive hitter is set to face a slew of strong spinners who will pose various issues to him.
Opportunities- First-timers at the IPL
To begin with, the uniqueness of the franchise may represent the most significant of their chances. Because it is a brand-new squad, the other teams’ various think tanks can’t say anything about their strategies or how they carry out their ideas. Despite the fact that the majority of the individuals on the squad had previously participated in the IPL, there is no historical data on them as a team that analysts might potentially exploit.
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Threats- Unproven leadership abilities
Though the Titans’ lack of experience in the IPL provides them with novelty, it also raises the risk of them losing their way sooner than they would think. The IPL is without a doubt one of the most competitive T20 competitions in the world, with very little tolerance for error. Teams who have been playing for 14 years have participated in a variety of circumstances and have developed their own distinct gameplay and team culture. Hardik Pandya, an undiscovered captain, might be the most dangerous of their threats. The ex-Mumbai Indians player has never led a team in the IPL, and he’ll be up against veterans like MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma. In high-pressure scenarios, Pandya’s decision-making might leave a lot more space for error.