How has Pandya led the infallible Gujarat Titans to a top finish?!

Introduction

This year IPL has an entirely different flavour to it. Many changes took place even before the tournament could even begin. Firstly 2 new teams were added. They were Gujarat Titans and the Lucknow Super Giants. Due to the addition of new teams, to make it fair, BCCI decided to hold a mega auction where all existing franchises had to release their players barring a few retentions, and 2 new teams could sign any 3 of the released players before their names are put in the auction. Thus Gujarat Titans had a golden chance to sign 3 big players for themselves. Thus their signings were Hardik Pandya, Shubham Gill and Rashid Khan.

Image Credits: deccanchronicle.com

Appointed as the captain

Then came the big announcement from the Gujarat Titans camp that Hardik Pandya will be the captain of their team in IPL 2022. As soon as this news came out, eyebrows were raised by many Pundits and former cricketers. Fans deemed this move by GT as a suicidal one. Memes broke out all over the internet, and trolling started. Throughout this period, Hardik remained quiet and said he was focusing on getting back into the field with 100% fitness. Days went by, and the final time of the tournament arrived.

The IPL 2022 journey

The Gujarat Titans started their campaign with a match against a newly introduced team Lucknow Super Giants. In that game, everybody saw Hardik Pandya leading a team for the first time. GT went on to win that game comfortably and won their 2nd game. After 2 wins on the trot, everyone termed it luck and nothing else for Hardik. But GT’s journey continued, and they kept winning match after match. Hardik, too, grew as a captain, and his team started to respond to it. At the end of IPL, Gujarat Titans have become the first team to qualify for the playoffs and are leading the points table as the number one team.

Hardik The Captain  

Hardik Pandya has played under 2 glaring captains/personalities in his career. One was Rohit Sharma at Mumbai Indians. The other was MS Dhoni at the Indian team in his initial years. Now coming into these 2 captains had their own styles and ways of doing things. Now when you observe Hardik Pandya’s captaincy closely, you will find traits of Rohit Sharma’s captaincy, especially when it comes to field placing and that quick smartness that is needed for every captain and some characteristics of MSD, especially when something goes against the run of play, Hardik as a captain doesn’t react that much just like how Dhoni use to do. But then again, every man is different from each other, thus so every captain from each other. Some unique points of Hardik’s captaincy are when any fielder or bowler does something wrong or not according to the plan, he doesn’t go barking behind them; instead, he laughs off those moments, which indirectly creates a calm and tension-free atmosphere in the team which indirectly has an impact on team performances. He also started to come up with the batting order at no.4, taking the responsibility upon himself to lead the team from the front whenever GT was in difficult/tricky situations with the bat.

Conclusion

This captaincy stint with Gujarat Titans has helped Hardik in many ways. He has grown in as a player. His batting has gone up, and also his bowling is getting back on track. Now, what did Gujarat get from this masterstroke? Firstly GT got a homegrown supporter base as Hardik is from the same state and has a fan following of his own? Secondly, they brought out the hidden talent of Hardik, the captain, and that has been doing wonders for them on the field.

 Overall there is no doubt that Hardik Pandya as a captain, has played a very crucial role in Gujarat Titans’ first season success as a brand new franchise. Stay Tuned with The Sportsway for more updates.

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