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Newcomers Team Gujarat target taking the Indian T20 League by storm in debut campaign

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The expansion of the Indian T20 League ahead of its 15th edition meant that two new franchises will be a part of the new campaign with as many as 10 teams set to battle it out for the coveted trophy.

One of the two new franchises that will be a part of Indian T20 League 2022 is Team Gujarat after British private equity and investment advisory firm CVC Capital Partners successfully bid and bought the Ahmedabad-based outfit in October of last year for a whopping INR 5,625 crore.

Ahead of the 15th edition of the Indian T20 League, the new franchise has assembled a fairly balanced squad with a decent mix of youth, experience, fringe players and star names that their fans can get excited about.

Despite the upcoming season being their first in the league, you can rest assured that the Ahmedabad-based franchise will be looking to hit the ground running and here we have a look at what Team Gujarat will offer in their maiden Indian T20 League campaign.

Team Gujarat squad

Ahead of the Indian T20 League 2022 mega auction, the two new teams were allowed to sign players who could be a part of their core squad. At the player draft, Gujarat roped in swashbuckling all-rounder Hardik Pandya (INR 15 crore) as their team captain alongside spin wizard Rashid Khan (INR 15 crore) and promising top-order batter Shubman Gill (INR 7 crore).

In the two-day mega auction held in Bengaluru last month, Gujarat loosened their purse strings by splashing INR 10 crore on New Zealand speedster Lockie Ferguson, who was their most expensive acquisition in the two-day event.

Their next two most costly buys at the auction were all-rounder Rahul Tewatia (INR 9 crore) and Indian pacer Mohammed Shami (INR 6.25 crore).

Gujarat also roped in foreign players with great pedigree in the T20 format. The likes of David Miller (INR 3 crore), Matthew Wade (INR 2.40 crore), Alzarri Joseph (INR 2.40 crore) and Dominic Drakes (INR 1.10 crore) are capable of contributing to more than one cricketing discipline. 

While Wade and Miller’s batting prowess is well known, Joseph and Drakes have proven to be a handful, primarily with the ball and even with the bat at times. 

Furthermore, it will be interesting to see what Noor Ahmad (INR 30 lakh) - the youngest player in the league this season - and his countryman Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who is a replacement for the unavailable Jason Roy, have to offer. 

Among recognized domestic players, gloveman Wriddhiman Saha (INR 1.9 crore), Pradeep Sangwan (INR 20 lakh), Varun Aaron (INR 50 lakh), Jayant Yadav (INR 1.70 crores) and Vijay Shankar (INR 1.40 crore) are some talents to keep an eye on from the Gujarat camp.

Team Gujarat squad for Indian T20 League 2022: Hardik Pandya (captain), Rashid Khan, Shubman Gill, Mohammed Shami, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wicket-keeper), 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 (wicket-keeper), Matthew Wade (wicket-keeper), Gurkeerat Singh, Varun Aaron, B Sai Sudharshan

 

Team Gujarat strengths and weaknesses

Strengths

Looking at Gujarat’s squad, it’s safe to say that their biggest strength lies in the bowling department. They have assembled a well-rounded bowling unit with a variety of options to choose from. They boast a plethora of potent fast bowling options in Mohammed Shami, Alzarri Joseph and Lockie Ferguson. 

Varun Aaron is another player who can bowl at brisk pace, while their spinners include the likes of the irrepressible Rashid Khan, who will be the team’s go-to bowler in crunch situations. Furthermore, young Noor Ahmad could also pose a threat owing to the mystery and uncertainty that still surrounds the young talent to a certain degree. 

Weaknesses

Gujarat’s weakness could rest on their batting options. Sure they have plenty of renowned talents like skipper Hardik, opener Shubman and middle-order power-hitter Miller but beyond the aforementioned trio, Team Gujarat certainly have a dearth of well established international batters.

Even if the likes of Wriddhiman Saha, Rahul Tewatia, Vijay Shankar, Wade and Drakes can play the odd match-winning knock, expecting consistency from them with the bat over the course of the season seems a bit far-fetched. How the team’s batting unit performs will go a long way toward dictating the team’s fortunes in their maiden Indian T20 League campaign.

Who can be the highest run-scorer for Team Gujarat?

Shubman Gill is most likely to top the run-scoring charts for Gujarat in the upcoming Indian T20 League campaign. A talented player who is certain to enjoy plenty of time in the middle as Gujarat’s opener, Shubman will be hoping to make this his best Indian T20 League season yet.

He has scored 1,417 runs in the league from 58 matches at an average of 31.48 so far. Shubman has made 10 fifties during that time but one area where he has come in for criticism and will be looking to improve is his strike rate which is 123 at present. Needless to say, the talented right-hander will be keen to improve that aspect of his game as he looks poised to have a big season for his new team Gujarat in 2022. 

Who can be the highest wicket-taker for Team Gujarat?

A no-brainer if there ever were one, Gujarat’s Rashid Khan will in all probability top his team’s wicket-taking charts. A proven performer in the T20 format across leagues from around the globe, Rashid Khan is one puzzle that batters are yet to solve despite him being active for quite some time now.

Arguably the best leg-spinner in white-ball cricket at present, Rashid has taken 93 wickets in 76 Indian T20 League matches with a stunning average of 20.55 and an impressive T20 economy of 6.33. Overall, Rashid has 435 wickets in the T20 format and adding to that tally in abundance in Indian T20 League 2022 is an absolute certainty.

Where will Team Gujarat finish in Indian T20 League 2022?

Since the upcoming season will be Gujarat’s first in the Indian T20 League, players and fans alike may want to temper the expectation with new talents and team combinations certain to take some time to click. However, if the team can come together and gel early in the tournament, there’s no reason why Gujarat can’t at least make the playoffs although it may seem like a long shot heading into the season.

Gujarat Indian T20 League 2022 schedule, fixtures and match times

All times are in India Standard Time (IST)

Day and Date Fixtures Venue Time
Monday, March 28 Gujarat vs Lucknow Wankhede Stadium 7:30 PM
Saturday, April 2 Gujarat vs Delhi MCA Stadium 7:30 PM
Friday, April 8 Punjab vs Gujarat Brabourne Stadium 7:30 PM
Monday, April 11 Hyderabad vs Gujarat DY Patil Stadium 7:30 PM
Thursday, April 14 Rajasthan vs Gujarat DY Patil Stadium 7:30 PM
Sunday, April 17 Gujarat vs Chennai MCA Stadium 7:30 PM
Saturday, April 23 Kolkata vs Gujarat DY Patil Stadium 3:30 PM
Wednesday, April 27 Gujarat vs Hyderabad Wankhede Stadium 7:30 PM
Saturday, April 30 Gujarat vs Bangalore Brabourne Stadium 3:30 PM
Tuesday, May 3 Gujarat vs Punjab DY Patil Stadium 7:30 PM
Friday, May 6 Gujarat vs Mumbai Brabourne Stadium 7:30 PM
Tuesday, May 10 Lucknow vs Gujarat MCA Stadium 7:30 PM
Sunday, May 15 Chennai vs Gujarat Wankhede Stadium 3:30 PM
Thursday, May 19 Bangalore vs Gujarat Wankhede Stadium 7:30 PM

Author: Andre Pitts

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Featured photo: SAM PANTHAKY / AFP







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