IPL 2023: Gujarat Titans (GT) Squad Analysis: In-form opener Shubman Gill spells advantage for defending champions. Kane Williamson is the smartest buy from auction by Gujarat.
Gujarat Titans (GT) go into the 2023 edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) as the defending champions and have a chance to become only the second team in history to successfully defend the title after the Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
How did they fare in their debut season?
Gujarat Titans came into IPL 2022 as one of the two new teams along with Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) making the tournament a 10-team competition. They were led by the Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya and quickly able to make a mark in this highly competitive league.
In their maiden season, GT topped the league stage with a dominant run finishing with 10 wins in 14 games. Many of their players chipped in with valuable contributions at various times and this helped them to win those many games.
This incredible run continued in the playoffs as well, and in the end one saw the team based out of Gujarat, lift the title in only their first appearance.
The reason behind their success can be attributed to the fact that they had a season of collective individual brilliance. Skipper Hardik Pandya led the batting charts for GT, scoring 485 runs in 15 innings while Shubman Gill came second with 483 runs in 16 innings. However, the major impact was created by middle-order batter David Miller who made 481 runs at an average of 68.71 with a strike rate of 142.72 which is simply outstanding.
With the ball, Mohammed Shami and Rashid Khan picked 20 & 19 wickets, respectively. The rest of the players like Wriddhiman Saha, Rahul Tewatia and Lockie Ferguson (now released) performed well at various junctures in the league.
What did GT do in IPL 2023 mini-auction?
As expected, the GT franchise didn’t have much to do in the auctions and they had retained the core team that won the title in their maiden attempt. But they did let go of tear away New Zealand pacer Lockie Ferguson in IPL drafts and he was subsequently picked by Kolkata Knight Riders.
In the auctions, they brought the Kiwi white ball skipper Kane Williamson at his base price of INR 2 crore while also getting Odean Smith, the West Indies player at his base price of INR 50 lakh. While Williamson was released by the Sunrisers Hyderabad after an ordinary showing in the last IPL, Odean Smith was let go by the Punjab Kings, The latter could only pick 6 wickets in the 6 games he played and his economy rate was at a higher end of 11.87.
The other major signing of GT in the auction is that of India pacer Shivam Mavi for whom the franchise spent INR 6 crore. Joshua Little, the left-arm pacer from Ireland, attracted huge bids in the mini-auction and was eventually snapped by the Titans for a whopping INR 4.4 crore making him the first Irish player to be picked in the IPL. Overall, it was a great outing for the defending champions at the auctions.
Injury concerns for Gujarat Titans
The defending champions will be without the services of Indian domestic speedster Yash Dayal who continues to recover from the lower back injury that has ruled him out since India’s ODI series in Bangladesh late last year. There is no definite timeline on when he might be available. Yash had an impressive outing in his maiden IPL season where he picked 11 wickets in 9 games and showcased quite a lot of pace in the process.
The Titans’ strengths lies in their core team that won them the title in the 2022 season. Their opening batter Shubman Gill has been in tremendous form in international cricket having scored close to 1000 runs already till now. GT have great firepower when it comes to the middle-order where the likes of Hardik Pandya, David Miller and Rahul Tewatia have the capability to decimate any bowling attack on a given day.
Last year, Gujarat faced a problem when it comes to the No.3 slot where they tried the likes of Vijay Shankar who disappointed and then gave chances to Shankar’s young state mate Sai Sudharsan who looked like he belonged to this league. Also, the addition of Kane Williamson in the squad gives them a lot of stability in the batting order and makes it a lot stronger.
Gujarat still have to finalise their middle-order and may not want to do experiments unless necessary. For instance, Abhinav Manohar, a powerful striker of the ball was used as a floater in the last season and the same trend might continue with the team this season as well.
The spin bowling department looks weak at this point with champion bowler Rashid Khan being the only certainty among spinners in the XI. There is left-arm spinner Sai Kishore who sporadically played in IPL 2022 but with the team combination available, Kishore might have a key role in 2023.
Other major concern for them is the non-availability of like-to-like replacement players for the first-choice ones. For instance, there is no immediate world-class replacement available in case pacers like Shami or Alzarri Joseph gets injured.
How does the team look overall?
Gujarat will ride high on confidence courtesy of their monumental title win in IPL 2023. So, they start as one of the favourites to go all the way yet again. With a solid squad at his disposal, Hardik Pandya will have as sigh of relief for leading this exciting bunch of players.
Gujarat Probable Playing XI
Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha/ Matthew Wade, Kane Williamson/ Sai Sudharsan, Abhinav Manohar, David Miller, Hardik Pandya, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Alzarri Joseph, Shivam Mavi, Mohammed Shami
Gujarat Titans Squad (IPL 2023)
Hardik Pandya (C), Shubman Gill, David Miller, Abhinav Manohar, Sai Sudharsan, Wriddhiman Saha, Matthew Wade, Rashid Khan, Rahul Tewatia, Vijay Shankar, Mohammed Shami, Alzarri Joseph, Yash Dayal, Pradeep Sangwan, Darshan Nalkande, Jayant Yadav, R Sai Kishore, Noor Ahmad, Kane Williamson, Odean Smith, KS Bharat, Shivam Mavi, Urvil Patel, Joshua Little, Mohit Sharma
Gujarat Titans play their first game of IPL 2023 against Chennai Super Kings on March 31 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.