The first time is always special, they say. And we agree. While we are all set to experience IPL for the first time, IPL, too, is ready to experience Gujarat Titans for the first time.
With captain Hardik Pandya and head coach Ashish Nehra at the helm, the Gujarat Titans fans can be assured of a fun and memorable debut season in the TATA IPL.The maiden season has already been a showreel of memorable firsts: first team on the Metaverse, a first-time Captain, a first-time Head Coach and a dozen other reasons to follow our game. Here are just a handful of them as we lead up to our first ever game on March 28 against Lucknow.
'Captain' Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya – the gold standard of all-rounders in world cricket – will be taking on a new challenge as he captains his hometown franchise.
Our ace all-rounder is a product of the league and made his name as an explosive, multi-dimensional cricketer with the Mumbai Indians since his debut in 2015. His fearless brand of cricket has made him a ‘Titan’ of the game, and the world of cricket is waiting to see Hardik lead Gujarat Titans with the same style and swagger.
The Baroda Bossman (we just made that up!) will want to make his first major captaincy stint ever a memorable one and bring the cup home - to his family, to Gujarat.
Watch our captain unveil our jersey here.
Our Afghan trio
We've built a mighty fan base in Afghanistan, thanks to the triumvirate of Afghans: Rashid ‘Magician’ Khan, hard-hitter Rahmanullah Gurbaz and young gun Noor Ahmad.
While Khan has been an IPL veteran for some years now, Gurbaz with a strike rate of 137.62 in T20Is and Ahmad with an economy rate of 7.39 in his T20 career, show promises of coming out all guns blazing in their debut season in the tournament.
Our Specialist Spin Brigade
To slightly twist the famous one-liner, “Life is like a box of spinners, you never know what you're going to get!”
Our selectors kept this in mind at the auctions as we put together a squad with a formidable spin brigade. Here’s a quick glance:
Rashid Khan (Leg-break): The ‘record-breaking’ legend needs no introduction. In fact, the game changer is a warning sign to all our opponents.
Jayant Yadav (Right-arm Off-break): The all-rounder comes in with a significant amount of domestic as well as international experience to make a difference.
Rahul Tewatia (Leg-break): He may be known for hitting sixes out of the park, but the all-rounder can also sneak in a wicket or two when you least expect it.
Noor Ahmad (wrist spinner): Known for his heroics in the Big Bash League, he will be sharing the stage with his mentor, Rashid Khan, and we can’t wait to watch the duo bowl in tandem.
Gurkeerat Singh (right arm off-break): Singh is yet another all-rounder who rose to the occasion and helped his sides win throughout his First Class as well as List A career. Rest assured, it won't be a different story here at GT.
Sai Kishore (left-arm orthodox): Rose to fame with his match-winning 3-wicket haul in the SMAT 2021 final against Karnataka, Sai Kishore could prove to be the key in the powerplay overs.
Shaping Team India's Future Talents
The mega auction in February was an exciting start to this ‘season of firsts’ for us! Uncapped Indian talent has been an extremely vital cog in every IPL team's journey, and we're so happy to have aced that part.
Here's how our domestic talents stack up:
Rahul Tewatia: Be it hitting 5 sixes on the trot, getting crucial wickets in the middle or making a difference with his fielding, Rahul is a proven performer in the shortest format of the game.
Yash Dayal: The 24-year-old pacer has been an asset for the UP Ranji side, and we hope to see the same form once he dons the Titans cap.
R Sai Kishore: A consistent performer in the domestic circuit, he's someone on the cusp of IPL and international glory. With the ability to bowl during the powerplay as well as death overs, he's a captain's delight.
Abhinav Sadarangani: This 27-year-old made his domestic debut a few months back, but what a fiery debut it was. Abhinav scored the most runs for Karnataka in last year's Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. His healthy average, along with a solid strike rate, is just the right amount of firepower any team needs.
B Sai Sudharsan: A product of the TNPL, the southpaw burst onto the scene last season, becoming one of the tournament's top scorers.
Darshan Nalkande: From taking 4 wickets in 4 balls to scoring quick-fire 50s, he's all set to light up the biggest stage in Gujarat colours.
Titans' Tamil Connect
Tamil Nadu holds a special place in the hearts of Gujarat Titans. After all, we've bagged Ranji teammates from TN camp - Vijay Shankar, Sai Kishore and Sai Sudharsan. Don't be surprised if you catch them jam over 'filter kaapi' between matches and replicate match-winning knocks from their domestic days together for GT.