'T20 is not Gill's strongest suit. Williamson's stars have...': Ex-KKR star's bold IPL prediction for Gujarat Titans

By, New Delhi
Mar 29, 2023 04:35 PM IST

The former Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) star has come up with a bold prediction for defending champions Gujarat Titans (GT).

Making his captaincy debut in the Indian Premier League (IPL) last year, all-rounder Hardik Pandya propelled debutants Gujarat Titans (GT) to title glory in the 2022 season of the cash-rich league. Released by Mumbai Indians (MI) ahead of IPL 2022, superstar Pandya was appointed the leader of the Ahmedabad-based franchise before the start of the previous season.

The former Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) star has come up with a bold prediction for defending champions Gujarat Titans (GT) (IPL)
The former Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) star has come up with a bold prediction for defending champions Gujarat Titans (GT) (IPL)

Under Pandya's leadership, Gujarat Titans became the first team to qualify for the IPL 2022 playoffs. Pandya's men also finished the league phase on the top of the table. Table-toppers Gujarat Titans defeated Rajasthan Royals (RR) in Eliminator before hammering Sanju Samson and Co. in the summit clash to lift the famous trophy.

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Though Gujarat Titans are all set to arrive in the IPL 2023 as one of the top contenders following a fruitful auction, former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has expressed his reservations about GT retaining their title in the upcoming season. Only Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Mumbai Indians (MI) have won back-to-back titles in domestic cricket's biggest extravaganza - the IPL.

"I don't see them lifting the trophy again because it happens very rarely. Teams have been able to do it only twice. This team is good but can it replicate Mumbai and Chennai's record - I am not 100% certain. But they have the team that can reach the playoffs but I won't be terribly surprised if they don't reach the playoffs," Chopra told JioCinema.

Defending champions Gujarat Titans signed former Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) skipper Kane Williamson (INR 2 crore) and Indian pacer Shivam Mavi (INR 6 crore) at the IPL 2023 auction. Pandya's GT franchise also acquired the services of Joshua Little (INR 4.4 crore) for the upcoming season of the cash-rich league at the auction. Talking about GT's world-class squad, Chopra claimed that Pandya and Co. lack firepower in their batting lineup.

"If this team has a concern, it comes from the batting. Among the batters, they have Kane Williamson, Shubman Gill, David Miller, Sai Sudarshan, Abhinav Manohar, Hardik Pandya - you can keep him both as batter and bowler, Rahul Tewatia and Vijay Shankar - both of them can be kept in the all-rounder's category. Let us add the keepers as well - Wriddhiman Saha, Matthew Wade, KS Bharat and Urvil Patel. So a lot of batters are seen but you feel that if there is any concern, it is here only, because they do not have that much strike power," Chopra added.

The former Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) star also questioned the batting credentials of Shubman Gill and Williamson in the shortest format. Opener Gill was the second-highest run-getter for Gujarat in IPL 2022. The Indian opener smashed 483 runs in 16 matches last season.

"When Shubman Gill plays, he plays very well, he also has a T20I century to his name, but T20 is still not his strongest suit. Kane Williamson's stars have been on the wane in the T20 format. You might see some gaps in the middle order. A lot of focus will be on David Miller and Rahul Tewatia," he concluded.

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