Playing in their first Indian Premier League (IPL) season in 2016, the Gujarat Lions caused some surprise by making it to the semi-finals last year. This year, they would be hoping to do better, having snapped up players like Jason Roy, Basil Thampi, Manpreet Gony, Nathu Singh, Munaf Patel, Akshdeep Nath, Shubam Agrawal, Tejas Baroka, Chirag Suri and Pratham Singh in the IPL auctions earlier this year. What must be heartening for the franchise is that they have managed to retain all of their key players from last season, which betters their chances of outdoing themselves.
The Lions’ surprising run last season owed a great deal to skipper Suresh Raina, who led from the front, scoring 399 runs from 15 matches.
Leaving aside the left-hander, theirs was a batting unit in which everyone played handy contributions — Aaron Finch scored 393 runs while Brendon McCullum (354) and Dinesh Karthik (335) also got runs under their belt.
Among their bowlers, Dhawal Kulkarni claimed 18 wickets to be fourth among the list of highest wicket-takers last season, while Dwayne Bravo scalped 17 wickets. Unfortunately, Bravo will be missing the first few matches of this campaign due to injury.
Another reason for concern would be the fact that Ravindra Jadeja could not make too much of an impact last season, ending the season with eight wickets off the 40 overs he bowled.
However, team owner Keshav Bansal has said that he believes it will be Jadeja's performances that will be crucial for the team's success this season. Jadeja though has been advised rest for the first two weeks by the BCCI to recover after a gruelling home season.
"(Ravindra) Jadeja has been in great form and doing well for the country in the ongoing Test series against Australia. He was rewarded by becoming the World No 1 bowler in the recently announced ICC rankings", Bansal said recently. "He (Jadeja) has been in great rhythm and expectations are high from the team that he would deliver his best. His performance would be the key for team's success in IPL 10."
Gujarat Lions will start their campaign on 7 April at the SCA Stadium against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
Gujarat Lions squad: Suresh Raina(c), Ravindra Jadeja, James Faulkner, Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, Dwayne Smith, Dinesh Karthik, Dhawal Kulkarni, Praveen Kumar, Andrew Tye, Ishan Kishan, Pradeep Sangwan, Shivil Koushik, Shadab Bashir Jakati, Jaydev Shah, Manpreet Gony, Nathu Singh, Jason Roy, Munaf Patel, Chirag Suri, Akshdeep Nath, Basil Thampi, Shubham Agarwal, Tejas Baroka, Pratham Singh, Shelley Sanjay Kumar Shaurya, Dwayne Bravo.
Published Date: Apr 03, 2017 02:17 pm | Updated Date: Apr 05, 2017 02:52 pm