Gujarat Titans are a new franchise that will make their Indian Premier League (IPL) debut this season and Hardik Pandya will manage the team. Pandya will make a return to competitive cricket and has revealed his bowling will be a ‘surprise’ feature in the coming season for the oppositions.
IPL 2022 will be a 10-team affair with the addition of two new franchises – Gujarat and Lucknow for the season. Named Gujarat Titans Hardik Pandya as captain and had retained Shubhman Gill and Rashid Khan ahead of the mega auction for IPL 2022. The team will play their opening match against Lucknow Super Giants on March 28.
Pandya was out of the game for a long time and will return to action in the IPL. He played his last international match against Namibia in the T20 World Cup last year. He also struggles to manage his bowling workload. However, Pandya said his bow would be a surprise “element” in the IPL. Also, opening up about the captaincy, he said it’s about creating an environment for the players where they will be comfortable.
“Sir, it would be a surprise, so let it be a surprise,” Pandya said on the sidelines of their shirt launch.
“Success is theirs, failure is mine. Our role will be to make sure the players are comfortable in all areas where we can help them. Clarity, honesty has to be there,” said he added.
“In good times, they don’t need any of us. But the season is going to test you, there will be tough times and that’s where we’ll be there to support them,” Hardik reiterated what he said in a previous interaction.
The team will be eager to lift the trophy in their debut season, just like Rajasthani Royals did it at IPL 2008. The team has good balance and most importantly the bowling pace will be top notch. The team also includes Indian fly-half Shubman Gill, Afghan spinner Rashid Khan, Australia’s Matthew Wade, India’s senior point guard. Mohammad Shami and the speedy New Zealander Lockie Ferguson.
Pandya said the team’s management wanted to create a culture for the players where they would feel at home.
“We want to create a culture where all players feel at home, we want to give them a sense of security only then can we make the most of it. We want them to feel at home here. It’s about creating a new culture,” he revealed.
Ashish Nehra will coach the team in its first season. Pandya said it was great working with Nehra and he is the funniest guy you can meet.
“He’s the funniest guy you could ever meet. He’ll never give you the vibe of a manager. It was very clear with Nehraji letting all the players decide what they wanted to do and their gave freedom. You make mistakes but you end up learning. I’m very excited to spend time with him, “he concluded.
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