The Indian Premier League (IPL 2023) is set to start on March 31, with Gujarat Titans taking on Chennai Super Kings in the opening encounter at Ahmedabad. A total of 10 teams will be up against each other in the cash-rich league.
The home and away format is back in the IPL, with each side playing seven matches at home, and seven at away venues. Most players would look to stake their claim for the 2023 ODI World Cup for their respective national teams.
Let’s take a look at how the defending champions, Gujarat Kings look ahead of the IPL 2023 season.
Also Read: Can Lucknow Super Giants win IPL 2023?
Gujarat Titans History
The Gujarat Titans are owned by CVC Capital Partners, who bought the team ahead of the 2022 edition. They secured the services of Hardik Pandya, Rashid Khan and Shubman Gill for their debut season ahead of the mega auction. Skipper Pandya led the Titans to lift the trophy in the 2022 season, with the help of the talented all-round squad.
Pandya, Gill and David Miller were the top scorers for GT with 450+ runs each in the last edition. In the bowling unit, Mohammed Shami (20 wickets) and Rashid Khan (19 wickets) were the top performers.
In the league stage, the Titans secured 10 victories in 14 appearances and topped the points table. They overcame the challenge of Rajasthan Royals in the Qualifier 1 and Final to lift the title in their debut season.
Gujarat Titans Squad: IPL 2023
Big names from IPL 2023 auction: Kane Williamson, K.S. Bharat, Joshua Little
Ahead of the IPL 2023 auction, Gujarat Titans released players like Dominic Drakes, Gurkeerat Singh, Jason Roy and Varun Aaron. The team tried to retain its core players from their successful 2022 campaign. However, they traded Rahmanullah Gurbaz (replacement to Roy in 2022) and Lockie Ferguson to Kolkata Knight Riders before the auction. In place of Ferguson, they brought in Shivam Mavi from KKR, who has gained good experience in the IPL over the last few years.
In the auction, GT had a field day as they bought the experienced Kane Williamson for his base price. The acquisition will help GT get rich experience in the middle order and be a proven leader as well. K.S Bharat, who recently made his India debut will be a good option as a backup keeper to Wriddhiman Saha in the XI.
The Ireland pacer Joshua Little is a quality addition to the squad, given his impressive form in the international circuit and franchise leagues. The Caribbean all-rounder Odean Smith would look to make a fighting comeback in the 2023 edition.
The Indian fast bowling veteran Mohit Sharma and Urvil Patel will be a backup pacers and wicket-keepers respectively in the team.
Overall, the GT squad has a good balance with experience in the T20s. The pair of Shubman Gill and Wriddhiman Saha provided a stable opening stand in 2022, while Hardik Pandya and David Miller managed to take the game deep and chase down the scores/post strong totals.
In the bowling unit, Mohammed Shami, Rashid Khan, Alzarri Joseph, and Hardik Pandya were impressive in the last season. With the addition of Mavi and Little, the Titans have depth in the fast-bowling department as well.
Talented batters, Matthew Wade, Vijay Shankar, and Abhinav Manohar were average with their performances in 2022, and will serve as the backup options in the middle order. Noor Ahmad, Jayant Yadav and Yash Dayal will be quality options in the bowling unit.
Full Squad: Hardik Pandya (c), Shubman Gill, David Miller, Abhinav Manohar, Sai Sudharsan, Wriddhiman Saha, Matthew Wade, Rashid Khan, Rahul Tewatia, Vijay Shankar, Mohammed Shami, Alzarri Joseph, Yash Dayal, Pradeep Sangwan, Darshan Nalkande, Jayant Yadav, R Sai Kishore, Noor Ahmad, Kane Williamson, Odean Smith, KS Bharat, Shivam Mavi, Urvil Patel, Joshua Little, Mohit Sharma.
Probable Playing XI: Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha, Kane Williamson, Sai Sudharsan, David Miller, Hardik Pandya (c), Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Mohammed Shami, Alzarri Joseph, R Sai Kishore
Gujarat Titans IPL 2023 Schedule
- March 31 – Gujarat Titans vs Chennai Super Kings, Ahmedabad (7:30 PM IST)
- April 4 – Delhi Capitals vs Gujarat Titans, Delhi (7:30 PM IST)
- April 9 – Gujarat Titans vs Kolkata Knight Riders, Ahmedabad (3:30 PM IST)
- April 13 – Punjab Kings vs Gujarat Titans, Mohali (7:30 PM IST)
- April 16 – Gujarat Titans vs Rajasthan Royals, Ahmedabad (7:30 PM IST)
- April 22 – Lucknow Super Giants vs Gujarat Titans, Lucknow (3:30 PM IST)
- April 25 – Gujarat Titans vs Mumbai Indians, Ahmedabad (7:30 PM IST)
- April 29 – Kolkata Knight Riders vs Gujarat Titans, Kolkata (3:30 PM IST)
- May 2 – Gujarat Titans vs Delhi Capitals, Ahmedabad (7:30 PM IST)
- May 5 – Rajasthan Royals vs Gujarat Titans, Jaipur (7:30 PM IST)
- May 7 – Gujarat Titans vs Lucknow Super Giants, Ahmedabad (3:30 PM IST)
- May 12 – Mumbai Indians vs Gujarat Titans, Mumbai (7:30 PM IST)
- May 15- Gujarat Titans vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, Ahmedabad (7:30 PM IST)
- May 21 – Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Gujarat Titans, Bengaluru (7:30 PM IST)
Gujarat Titans: Strengths and Weaknesses
● Talented bowling unit
Gujarat Titans have top-quality bowlers, who have gained much exposure in the T20s over the years. In the last edition, Rashid Khan (20 wickets) and Mohammed Shami (19 wickets) were two of the finest bowlers and helped GT prevail in crunch moments.
After releasing the Kiwi speedster, Lockie Ferguson ahead of the auction, Titans secured the services of Shivam Mavi and Joshua Little. Mavi has displayed good form in the domestic circuit leading up to the season, while Little has emerged as the star for Ireland in recent years. The Gujarat-based franchise also have Alzarri Joseph, who has been a consistent wicket-taker for West Indies across all formats.
The @ShivamMavi23 🌪 is ready for the upcoming season! #TitansFAM, catch an exclusive chat with our young pacer on the Titans FAM app & our website ➡️ https://t.co/xzwt78sIgM#AavaDe pic.twitter.com/DPTZZ65Yr2
— Gujarat Titans (@gujarat_titans) March 29, 2023
The youngster Yash Dayal did well in the last edition and will look to be proficient in 2023 as well. Moreover, skipper Hardik Pandya, who provided a glimpse of his brilliance with the ball in 2022, is fully-fit and can be a wicket-taking option for GT. They can opt for a second spinner in the XI in the form of Sai Kishore, who is a proven performer for Tamil Nadu in the domestic circuit.
Other bowlers like Noor Ahmad, Darshan Nalkande and Mohit Sharma have good experience in handling pressure as well. All in all, GT have a string of first-choice fast bowlers as well as quality back-ups and are likely to lead bowling charts.
● Quality leadership group
In his debut season as a captain, Pandya impressed the cricket fraternity with his confidence, all-round performance and tactical skills. The leadership responsibility certainly brought out the best in the 29-year-old all-rounder. Pandya’s calmness and good man-management skills paved the way for the Titans to lift their maiden trophy. Their success in IPL helped him to be chosen as India’s T20I captain as well.
Alongside Pandya, the Titans have David Miller, Kane Williamson and Rashid Khan, who have captaincy experience for their respective national teams. These players will be part of the first-choice XI for GT, and help Pandya take better decisions on the field.
With Gary Kirsten and Ashish Nehra in the coaching staff, Titans certainly are a tough nut to crack in pressure situations.
The only visible loophole in the Gujarat Titans squad is their middle order. In the last edition, the likes of Vijay Shankar, Matthew Wade and Abhinav Manohar failed to impress with their contributions. Their failures certainly put Pandya, Rahul Tewatia and Miller in a tight spot to win the games for the team on most occasions. In the last few games, the inclusion of Sai Sudharsan helped them get stability in the middle-overs.
The newly-recruited Williamson has not been in great form in limited-overs cricket. Moreover, he was released from Sunrisers Hyderabad, after scoring only 216 runs at a paltry average of 19.64 and a strike rate of 93.51 in 2022. It will be interesting to see whether he can make a major turnaround in 2023.
Batting all-rounder Tewatia came to rescue GT on many occasions last year but was rather ordinary in the 2022-23 domestic season.
Can GT win the IPL 2023?
Gujarat Titans certainly have filled almost all the holes, which was visible in their winning campaign in the 2022 season. The opening combination of Shubman Gill and Wriddhiman Saha managed to provide the team with a terrific start, and are expected to continue their good work in 2023.
The middle order comprising Hardik Pandya, David Miller, and Kane Williamson have the experience and track record to damage the opposition’s bowling attack. The likes of Rahul Tewatia and Rashid Khan make a solid combination to provide the finishing touches to the team in the final few overs.
The defending champions’ XI will consist of Mohammed Shami and Rashid Khan as their key players. Both bowlers are regular in their national team and were the stars for the Titans in their title victory last year. With the breathtaking pace of Alzarri Joseph, they have a credible bowling attack.
Overall, GT are placed quite well to defend their IPL title in 2023 due to the all-round brilliance in the team.