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IPL 2022, Gujarat Titans (GT) SWOT: Strong bowling, shaky middle order and an inexperienced captain


Gujarat Titans, along with fellow debutant Lucknow Super Giants, are the new kids on the block at this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL). With the IPL expanding to 10 teams for its 15th season, there was a mega auction on February 12 and 13 where every team had a chance to strengthen their squads.

Even before the auction Gujarat Titans signalled their arrival when they roped in Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya as their captain for Rs 15 crore during the draft. Apart from Pandya, the two other players that the Titans drafted were former Sunrisers Hyderabad bowler Rashid Khan for Rs 15 crore and young Indian batter Shubman Gill for Rs 7 crore.

At the auction table, they purchased New Zealand fast bowler Lockie Ferguson for Rs 10 crore and Indian all-rounder Rahul Tewatia for Rs 9 crore. Next, they picked up Mohammed Shami for Rs 6.25 crore which will prove to be a shrewd signing as Shami was one of the most sought out players before the auction.

The Titans also bought players like Matthew Wade, David Miller and Alzarri Joseph as well as experienced cricketers like Wriddhiman Saha, Vijay Shankar and Pradeep Sangwan. Even though they suffered a blow when England batter Jason Roy was ruled out from the IPL, they quickly replaced him with Afghan cricketer Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who might prove to be an outstanding signing, if his form for his country is anything to go by.

Strengths:

From a closer look at the Titans squad, it’s clear to see that their bowling unit will be their biggest strength in this edition of the IPL. Having Mohammed Shami and Lockie Ferguson in their squad, the Titans already have a ready-made fast bowling pair who will get them off to a good start against the batters from the other franchises.

However, the ace up their sleeve will be Rashid Khan who is a seasoned T20 journeyman and has given nightmares to a lot of batters around the globe. He has also been pretty decent IPL record, having taken 18 wickets in 14 matches in the last edition.

In their batting department former KKR opener Shubman Gill could prove to be a masterstroke. Even though he is far from the finished product, he still has the ability to hand the Titans a whirlwind start to their innings. Very much a signing with an eye on the future, this one. They also have Hardik Pandya, who on his day, is one of the most explosive batters around.

Weaknesses:

One of the Titans’ greatest strengths could also turn out to be their greatest weakness when it comes to Hardik Pandya. Even though he is one of the most sought-after cricketers in the world, luck has not been on Hardik’s side. With a career riddled with injuries and inconsistent batting performances in the last few years, this was a big bargain for the Titans and they hope that it can pay off.

The Titans will also hope that Rahmanullah Gurbaz can fill the hole left by Jason Roy in their already weak batting lineup. Their middle order is also something that does not inspire confidence even with the likes of David Miller, Matthew Wade and Vijay Shankar, who are great players but their IPL form have been patchy.

Opportunities:

Gujarat Titans are a new team so they have an IPL clean slate, which means the other franchises don’t have any idea what to expect from them. Titans will have the element of surprise on their side when they take the field against their opponents. They will also not be burdened with lofty expectations this time around as this is their debut season. They will have the opportunity to find their feet in this season and build on that for the next few editions.

Former India player Wriddhiman Saha will also be chomping at the bits to prove that he still has it to be a part of a top team. After being unceremoniously dropped from the Indian Test team, Saha will hope that his redemption arc begins from IPL 15.

Threats:

Hardik Pandya’s captaincy will be under the radar in this season’s IPL, with the Titans hoping that he can bring out the best from his team and himself. With experienced captains like MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma in the tournament, Pandya will need to up his captaincy game if he has any chance of competing with the very best. Even though, his captaincy will not be under any immediate threat if the campaign goes haywire, it’ll still put him on thin ice for the next few years.

Gujarat Titans squad: Hardik Pandya, Rashid Khan, Shubman Gill, Mohammed Shami, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Lockie Ferguson, Abhinav Sadarangani, Rahul Tewatia, Noor Ahmed, Sai Kishore, Vijay Shankar, Jayant Yadav, Dominic Drakes, Darshan Nalkande, Yash Dayal, Alzarri Joseph, Pradeep Sangwan, David Miller, Wriddhiman Saha, Matthew Wade, Varun Aaron, B Sai Sudharshan

March 28: Gujarat Titans vs Lucknow Super Giants (Wankhede Stadium)

April 2: Gujarat Titans vs Delhi Capitals (MCA Stadium, Pune)

April 8: Punjab Kings vs Gujarat Titans (Brabourne Stadium – CCI)

April 11: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Gujarat Titans (DY Patil Stadium)

April 14: Rajasthan Royals vs Gujarat Titans (DY Patil Stadium)

April 17: Gujarat Titans vs Chennai Super Kings (MCA Stadium, Pune)

April 23: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Gujarat Titans (DY Patil Stadium)

April 27: Gujarat Titans vs Sunrisers Hyderabad (Wankhede Stadium)

April 30: Gujarat Titans vs Royal Challengers Bangalore (Brabourne Stadium – CCI)

May 3: Gujarat Titans vs Punjab Kings (DY Patil Stadium)

May 6: Gujarat Titans vs Mumbai Indians (Brabourne Stadium – CCI)

May 10: Lucknow Super Giants vs Gujarat Titans (MCA Stadium, Pune)

May 15: Chennai Super Kings vs Gujarat Titans (Wankhede Stadium)

May 19: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Gujarat Titans (Wankhede Stadium)





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