Gujarat Titans aim to sustain further their triumphant dawn into an invincible era
The countdown for the world’s biggest T20 carnival is already underway as we are only two weeks away from the grand kick-off of the 2023 edition of the Indian Premier League.
After a glorious debut season, Gujarat Titans will be returning to the IPL battlefield with the ultimate aim of successfully defending their prestigious title to battle out against nine opponents challenging their prestigious title. ‘Parimatch News‘ brings a detailed squad analysis of the defending champions Gujarat Titans for IPL 16.
The 2023 roster of the defending champions has already been assembled at their base camp in Ahmedabad and the preparations are currently going in full swing at Narendra Modi Stadium. As the skipper, Hardik Pandya and the boys are keen on replicating their debut heroics in the following season as well. They will be kick-starting their title-defense campaign on the opening day of the season at home against Chennai Super Kings on the 31st of March 2022.
The think-tank of the Titans performed exceptionally well on the auctions table and left no stone unturned to strengthen the squad for the upcoming battle. Gujarat team management seems to be quite happy with developments going on for the 16th edition and also confident enough about their chances to retain the glory. The gaffer Ashish Nehra who previously became the first Indian head coach to lift the IPL trophy is eying to add more glitters to his remarks on the history books of the Indian top-flight league.
A look at last season’s performance
The Ahmedabad-based franchise had a historic debut campaign in the world’s grandest T20 league and went on to become the only second team after Rajasthan Royals to grace the champions podium in their breakout season.
Gujarat topped the league stage standings with 20 points after showcasing their dominant performance against each and every opponent with whom they shared the battlefield. However, they missed out on the golden opportunity of attaining the most league points in a debut season after suffering a crushing eight-wicket defeat at the hands of RCB in their final league appearance.
The Titans’ both playoff appearances were against the same opposition as they trampled down their neighborhood rivals Rajasthan Royals to claim the prestigious title at home ground. Three batters from the list of the Top 6 highest run-getters (Hardik Pandya, Shubman Gill, and David Miller) belonged to the Gujarat camp. Meanwhile, the thunderous bowling knights Mohammad Shami (20 wickets) and Rashid Khan (19 wickets) also managed to make it to the Top 10 wicket-taking chart.
New signings ahead of the 2022-23 ISL season
The Kiwi limited overs captain Kane Williamson whom the franchise bought at the base price of 2 crores is certainly the biggest signing for Gujarat this season. The 32-year-old batter is a perfect value addition to the Titans’ batting unit owing to his vast experience of the 20-over format and is likely to be slotted with Shubman Gill as an opening pair. Meanwhile, the arrival of domestic wicket-keepers KS Bharat and Urvil Patel will also provide backup support to the veteran Wriddhiman Saha.
Lockie Ferguson’s departure to Kolkata Knight Riders in a trade deal opened the gates of Gujarat for Joshua Little who turned out to be their most expensive auction buy at the price of 4.4 crores.
The 23-year-old Irish speedster ignited fireworks for Manchester Originals in the 2022 Hundred competition and is now preparing for a much bigger challenge in India. The inclusion of veteran Haryana-born pacer Mohit Sharma also adds experience to the Indian pace battery featuring plenty of budding names.
Predicted Starting XI
Shubman Gill, Kane Williamson, Hardik Pandya ©, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, Josh Little, Shivam Mavi, Mohammed Shami
The key strength of this Titans side lies in its all-round department as the likes of Hardik Pandya, Rahul Tewatia and Odean Smith are capable of pulling off miracles in difficult circumstances.
Gujarat’s finishing unit features established names who showcased their masterclass in almost all games during the previous season and will continue to do so. Pandya’s promotion up in the order stabilizes the batting firepower of the thunderbolts and provides freedom to the rest of the batters to finish it with their own ease.
The biggest achievement for the Titans’ backend support staff in the 2022 edition was the apt utilization of the potential of their domestic players into performance. Coach Nehra’s old-school method of not going much deep into the tactical aspects and entrusting the capabilities of the eleven fielded knights also played a major role in the recent success.
The top-order of the defending champions was comparatively the weakest link across all departments in their triumphant IPL campaign. Shubman Gill alone stood tall on multiple occasions while the high-profile middle-order always had to rush to rescue them from early collapses. Kane Williamson promises to fix the problems for the thunderbolts however, the recent IPL form of the former SRH captain is also a major issue for Gujarat.
On the other hand, the bowling unit also lacks on-paper strength while the new entrants also do not come with much high-profile status to raise the star power of the roster. Mohammad Shami and Rashid Khan are the only trusted knights in their respective departments and the franchise may face serious consequences if any one of them suffers injury or crisis in form.
The weaknesses mentioned above are quite serious ones and may cause a severe drain on their high spirits for the title-defense challenge. Interestingly, Ashish Nehra and the boys have opted to not go for any big changes in the roster and are also likely to reconcile the same team combination and tactical approach which previously harvested laurels for them.
However, if everything goes exactly how the Titans team management has planned then we will get to see the Ahmedabad-based franchise enjoying yet another triumphant campaign in the Indian top-flight T20 competition. The squad has the potential to claim the playoffs qualification ticket at an ease but may not be able to replicate their prowess of finishing on the top of the points table once again.