IPL 2022: Where do the Hardik Pandya-led Gujarat Titans (GT) stand after the mega auction?

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The mega auction for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 is concluded, and the teams are locked with Gujarat Titans (GT), one of the new franchises, and led by Hardik Pandya, having a mixed auction. While they sorted out their core group of players, they failed to land quality players in key roles. It is fair to say that they couldn’t perform very well in the auctions.

Here we analyse their squad to find out the strengths and the loopholes in each department:

IPL 2022: Gujarat Titans (GT) Batting unit

Strengths

Having Shubman Gill and Jason Roy as an opener is one of the few strengths of Gujarat Titans in the batting department. They have their skillsets and can complement each other well. Both of them can together give a solid start to their team.

Jason Roy is excellent against the high pace bowling and a quick starter too. Since 2020, he strikes at 134.17 and hits a boundary after every 4.65 deliveries. He can go brisk in the powerplay and let Shubman Gill construct his innings.

Shubman Gill, on the other hand, is also equally effective against the raw pace. He is undoubtedly one of the best Indian players of the pace at the moment. He can handle the hard lengths swiftly and his game against spin is an added profit.

Gill has wide range against the spin – he can rotate the strike and play big shots too. He can cover Roy’s weakness against the spin and provide stability with long innings. If required, they can open with Matthew Wade too who is equally good against the pace bowling and powerplay specialist. Since he is an LHB, he provides another dimension with the bat.

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Weakness

There are quite a few problems in the batting department of Gujarat Titans. Jason Roy might be in great form but his record in the IPL is not proven yet. In the 13 IPL games, the right-handed batsman has assembled 329 runs at a batting average of 29.91 and 129.02 with the willow.

Considering his role in the team, his record has been pretty modest so far. Roy, who has improved his game against spin, will hope to turn around the tables if he gets a longer run. The role of Shubman Gill as a support batsman will be huge to help him flourish.

Additionally, Gujarat Titans have a one-dimensional top-order as they constitute as many as five right-handed batsmen in their top-order of the probable starting XI. This can be countered easily by the opposition by using the right set of bowlers.

Shubman Gill and Jason Roy are likely to open the innings with the likes of Vijay Shankar, Abhinav Manohar, and Hardik Pandya forming the middle order. While they can shuffle the position of Matthew Wade or David Miller, they are vulnerable against the spinners. And, having an LHB spin basher in the middle order, say No. 4, is no less than a basic necessity.

Moreover, Vijay Shankar has not done anything significant in the past couple of years or so. He has had a mediocre batting average of 17.22 and strike rate of 104.73 in the IPL since 2020. Banking on him to take the game forward in the middle overs might be risky.

Meanwhile, Abhinav Manohar is a newcomer and untested at this level. Manohar can smash spin and has a power game, but his inexperience might be an issue, especially in the initial phase of the tournament. Hence, Hardik Pandya and Matthew Wade (if used as a finisher) might not get a solid foundation to give the finishing touches in the back end of the innings.

The lack of quality backup batsmen is also concerning. Their first-choice players are already incompetent and they barely have someone to replace with from the reserves, if required. So, if someone gets injured in the mid of the tournament, the quality of the already substandard batting unit will dent further.

IPL 2022: Gujarat Titans (GT) Bowling attack

Strengths- Their spin attack is undoubtedly the best among all the ten teams. There is variety and versatility in their spin department throughout. In the draft, they retained the world’s best T20 spinner – Rashid Khan, and bought in other types of spinners to use based on the opposition.

For example, they have Jayant Yadav as an off-spinner to bowl against an LHB-dominated batting lineup. And, they have R Sai Kishore as a left-arm spinner and Noor Ahmad as a chinaman to counter the RHBs, if required. Furthermore. , they roped in Rahul Tewatia, a leg-spinner, at a huge amount to partner Rashid Khan.

Rashid Khan is a proven performer and his four overs are no less than gold. And, with all the aforementioned options in the armour, the Titans have too much quality in the spin department. The batting abilities of Tewatia, Jayant Yadav, and Noor stand as an added advantage for them.

Their powerplay and middle overs bowling are other areas they can boast of. For the powerplay, they have Mohammad Shami and Yash Dayal to start. Mohammad Shami has snared 11 wickets at an economy rate of 6.80 in the first six overs since IPL 2020.

Meanwhile, Yash Dayal might be an unknown commodity but he can bowl with the new ball. Yash can swing the ball both ways and his left-arm angle gives an extra dimension to the bowling unit. In the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021-22, the left-arm pacer bagged 14 wickets at a sumptuous bowling average of 17.35 and an economy rate of 3.77 with the ball.

For the middle overs, Gujarat Titans have Rashid Khan and Lockie Ferguson. As mentioned earlier, Rashid is a proven performer, whereas Ferguson knows his method pretty well. Lockie Ferguson can be an excellent enforcer – someone who has pace and can hit the deck hard .

Among all the pacers to have bowled a minimum of 20 overs, Ferguson has the third-best economy rate (7.24) in the middle overs of the last two IPL seasons. He was one of the main reasons behind KKR’s unexpected success in the second half of the IPL 2021. Gujarat Titans will be served with his quality services again this time around.

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IPL 2022: Gujarat Titans (GT) Weaknesses

The death overs bowling is an area of ​​concern for Gujarat Titans. They have signed Lockie Ferguson whose two overs are secured, but there are no other reliable options in the squad. Gujarat have Shami in their ranks, but he goes for plenty in the last few overs.

Since IPL 2020, Shami has had an economy rate of 10.58 and concedes a boundary after every four balls in the death overs. His accuracy in nailing the yorkers is quite low, and he does not use his pace as adeptly as he should. Gujarat Titans have Alzarri Joseph, but their squad is shaping up in such a way that they can not afford to include him in the XI.

If they fit in Joseph somehow, they will have to drop Matthew Wade which means the batting unit enervates further. Hence, they can not afford to have Joseph in the first XI. This means their bowling will be susceptible in the death overs.

Moreover, the fitness of Hardik Pandya will be crucial as the team will be expecting at least two overs from him with the ball. If he does not bowl, there will be problems for Gujarat Titans at some stage of the tournament. It’s worth remembering that Hardik Pandya hasn’t bowled a ball in the last two IPL seasons and hasn’t exactly set the stage on fire with the bat either.



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