What can we expect from Gujarat Titans this season?

The departure of Jason Roy may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the Gujarat Titans since they have now signed Rahmanullah Gurbaz as a replacement. The Afghanistan wicket-keeper batter is noted not only for his tremendous hitting skills but also for his ability to improve the side’s balance.

Gujarat would have had to accommodate Wriddhiman Saha in the batting order if they chose Jason Roy as Shubman Gill’s opening partner, which is not ideal given his deteriorating performances.

The Titans can now afford to invest in a young Indian hitter like Abhinav Manohar, giving them a more balanced lineup. Vijay Shankar, a fast-bowling all-rounder, adds to the team’s balance.

Gujarat has two finishers in David Miller and Hardik Pandya who can attack the opposition whenever they choose.

Gujarat’s choice to overspend on Rahul Tewatia has been questioned, but the Haryana wrist spin bowling all-rounder will get his chance to disprove the naysayers.

Gujarat has two world-class bowlers in Rashid Khan and Lockie Ferguson, who can cause problems for opposing hitters on any surface. If Shami can get back into form, he’ll be another bowler who can take regular wickets in the powerplay.

R Sai Kishore has been a consistent performer for Tamil Nadu throughout the years, but he has yet to make an appearance in the IPL. It’ll be fascinating to see how the spinner handles the pressure.

Sai Kishore’s stock has only climbed in the last few years, making him one of the most sought-after players in the major auction this February. The lanky spinner can bowl in all stages and keep the run rate under control. Despite not playing for Chennai Super Kings in the last three seasons despite being a member of their team, being a part of an IPL set-up and having the option to be a net bowler for India have aided his development as a bowler.

He finished as the highest wicket-taker for Tamil Nadu in their title-winning run in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 league this season, snagging ten wickets in eight matches while giving just 6.06 runs per over.

They also have two seam-bowling all-rounders (Pandya and a Shankar) who offer very different packages, as well as Tewatia, who is a very capable, better-than-part-time wrist spinner.

The bowling department has a lot of depth, which is impressive. For example, on quick wickets, GT can rely on someone like Alzarri Joseph, but on slow and low wickets, they may rely on Jayant Yadav’s experience. Jayant’s off-spin can, of course, be used to counter LHB-dominant teams in specific games. They also have a secret weapon in the form of Noor Ahmad, an unknown being with a left-arm wrist spin who may potentially fool opposing forces.

On the batting front, there is a severe scarcity of proven run-getters. There would be an over-dependence on Gill to make regular runs because there is no Indian or abroad run-machine in the middle-order (both starting XI and bench). Gill, in particular, is yet to establish himself in the IPL.

When Vijay Shankar and Gill bat together at No. 3, the team runs the risk of becoming bogged down in the middle overs. Gill and Shankar strike at 123 and 113.5 in overs 7-15, respectively, with a balls-per-boundary figure of over 8.5 in the IPL. In this segment, Gill is slowed by the speed (SR 111.92), while Shankar has trouble putting spin away (SR 104.95).

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