IPL 2023: Is Shubman Gill captain material for Gujarat Titans? Vikram Solanki remarks
IPL 2023: Shubman Gill will look to carry his exotic form for Gujarat Titans' title defence. While Hardik Pandya is currently flawlessly leading the side, Gill can be in contention for the role in the future, feels GT Director of Cricket Vikram Solanki.
Young Indian opener Shubman Gill has a "smart cricketing brain" and can emerge as the leader of the Gujarat Titans (GT) in the future due to his conduct and work ethic, said the Indian Premier League (IPL) team's director of cricket Vikram Solanki on Thursday. Gill has become an integral part of the Indian side over the last six months or so, given his all-round performances, which include a double century against New Zealand in One-Day International (ODIs). Last year, he also had a successful outing with the Gujarat Titans (GT) in its title-winning campaign.
While Pandya is set to continue as GT skipper in its second IPL season, Gill is also seen as a leader within the core group. "Shubman is a leader in his own right because he takes on many responsibilities. In my mind, it is not important that you play with an asterisk next to a player's name," Solanki told reporters during a virtual media session on Thursday.
"Shubman adapted the leadership role last year by his conduct, the way he goes about, with his professional attitude towards the game," added Solanki. The right-handed batter finished four runs behind GT captain Pandya in the list of highest run-getters, smacking 432 runs in 16 matches at 132.32 with four 50s.
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"Do I think that Shubman will be a leader in the future? Yes, absolutely, but no decision has been made about that as yet. He has leadership qualities, is very mature, and has abundant talent. He has a genius cricketing brain, and we will continue to have conversations with Shubman and invite his opinion on every decision we make," Solanki said.
GT will open its campaign against four-time title winner Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on March 31. According to the new IPL playing conditions issued by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), "Each captain shall nominate 11 players plus a maximum of 5 substitute fielders in writing to the IPL Match Referee after the toss."
It effectively means that after the toss, if a skipper feels that he needs to change his eleven as per the demands of the situation, he is free to do that till the match starts. Solanki, the former England international, said the new rule would change the dynamics of the IPL.
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"We will just have to wait and see. It will be an exciting change to the dynamics. It brings some tactical decisions to be made. But essentially, the way we are looking at it now is that you can name your eleven or a bigger squad of 15 after the toss, which has a different bearing on it," says Solanki.
"Initially, we are starting to discuss it, but it will bring an interesting dynamic to the IPL this year. It will be interesting to see how different teams adapt to the rule," Solanki added. He said there are no injury concerns in the GT squad, with star batter David Miller being the last player to join the team.
Miller will miss the opening game against CSK due to national commitments. "In terms of preparations, all teams are on the same page. We are setting out to give ourselves the best opportunity for a good account. Chennai will be no different. We are no different. Chennai will be under equal amounts of pressure as us in that first game," Solanki confirmed.
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With India hosting the ICC World Cup in October-November, workload management of the critical national players will be necessary. Senior seamer Mohammad Shami is one such player coming into the IPL after playing three Tests and as many ODIs against Australia. Solanki said that the franchise would monitor the India pacer.
"He [Shami] was quite outstanding for us last year. You have to wait and see what the situation is. We have to be respectful of the fact that fast bowling is a very demanding job. He is coming off a lot of cricket. We got to make sure we do the best for Mohammad Shami so that he can, in turn, do the best for Gujarat Titans. He will be one of those players we will monitor carefully with every preparation and resource so that he is in the best possible place for every game," Solanki concluded.
(With inputs from PTI)