Gujarat Titans will be taking the field for the last time in the league stages at our home ground, the Narendra Modi Stadium. We take on Sunrisers Hyderabad on Monday in a bid to confirm our place in the playoffs, which is now just a step away. Our vice-captain Rashid Khan addressed the media ahead of this match and began with a message to our #TitansFAM.  

It will be a special day for the franchise as we will be donning a special lavender kit for this match to support the fight against cancer and to raise awareness among people to lead a healthy life. 

Speaking about this wonderful initiative, Rashid said, “We are going to be wearing our lavender kit tomorrow and the main reason behind it is to support this battle against cancer. It is important to bring awareness to people's minds.” 

It has been a momentous season so far for Gujarat Titans, with eight wins in 12 matches. Our batting department has produced runs whenever required and the bowlers have been in stellar form as well. Although things didn’t go as planned in Mumbai, our vice-captain believes we should not tinker too much at this stage of the tournament. 

“Nothing much to talk about (the match against MI), we have to take the positives forward. We can’t change things too much, it is the final part of the league stage. We had a good game, our net run rate didn’t get affected a lot. We did our basics right and we must continue doing that. We must enjoy ourselves and not focus much on what will be the result. We have to believe in our process,” Rashid explained.  

“Everyone in the team knows their role. If we start giving too much importance to the final two games or the playoffs, it adds extra pressure. I feel we have the same mindset for each team we face, we don’t play according to the table. Our preparation and approach is the same. We have to play positive cricket and we must enjoy it, that’s how we can get the right results.” 

Rashid Khan chipped in with a blazing all-round performance against Mumbai Indians. After picking up four wickets with the ball, he went on to register his career best T20 score with the bat, smashing 79 off 32 deliveries. His knock included three fours and 10 massive sixes. 

When asked about promoting himself in the batting order, our Afghan star replied, “Batting wise, I’m happy to bat at number seven. When the team needs quick runs, I’m well prepared and I practice accordingly in the nets. I never thought about going up the order. We have enough players at the top who can give enough runs at a good strike-rate, so I think for me, number seven or number eight is the best position.” 

One aspect that stood out in our season was the number of players who stood up and produced match-winning performances. Talking about the individual responsibilities in the team, Rashid attributed this success to the coaching staff led by Ashish Nehra. 

“I feel Ashish bhai kept it very simple for us as a team. You do what you need, everyone is very professional and they know their role. It’s all about the players, we practice how much ever we feel is necessary. Let it be 30 minutes or two-three hours. It’s about the players’ comfort zone. Ashish bhai has maintained that from the last season, he ensures everyone is satisfied with their preparation,” Rashid Khan said. 

Rashid Khan is currently the Purple Cap holder as well, with 23 wickets in 12 matches. He also bettered his last season’s tally of 19 wickets with a minimum of two matches remaining in TATA IPL 2023.