We take a look at the Gujarat Lions in the build-up to the new IPL season.The Gujarat Lions had an excellent debut season, finishing atop the regular season log winning nine of their matches. They’ll look to go one better in their final season as an IPL team in this season’s edition of the competition.
They never really set the auction alight with Jason Roy the only big name signing – instead, they opted to add depth to the side that almost got the job done last time out. Let’s take a look at their chances below:
Brad Hodge has some serious batting power at his disposal this season. Brendon McCullum and Jason Roy will likely open things up with Raina, Dinesh Karthik, Dwayne Bravo and James Faulkner all set to feature regularly for the Gujarat franchise.
If that wasn’t enough to worry opposition bowlers, Aaron Finch and Dwayne Smith form part of the squad too, although they’re not likely to feature as prominently as the other international batsmen.
Bowling wise I worry for this team. Dhawal Kulkrani is the only seamer that really stands out here and ever he can be pretty wayward on a bad day. Having said that, his recent List A form for both India B and Mumbai has been nothing short of sensational, taking 16 wickets in five matches.
Whether or not he’ll receive the necessary support from the likes of Bravo, Nathu Singh and Shivil Kaushik is a different story. It doesn’t help that Bravo misses the first few games of the competition as he recovers from a hamstring injury picked up in the Big Bash while playing for the Melbourne Renegades.
His absence means that Faulkner will need to do more than just keep scoring rates down – he’ll need to take wickets. Andrew Tye will also likely feature periodically in the tournament. Hodge will be hoping his countryman steps up when he gets his chance.
One to Watch: Jason Roy
Like so many of the other English players in the tournament, this will be Roy’s first IPL. He comes into the competition as one of the brightest young white ball cricketers on the planet. A domestic / franchise T20 average of 28.45 striking at 144.49, he should take to this competition like a fish to water. Expect some massive performances before he meets up with the English side that takes on South Africa mid-way through the IPL.
I like the fact that the Lions haven’t purchased wildly following an excellent debut season. They strengthened reasonably well and added good Indian depth. I just worry about their bowling attack, though. Can they make a significant title push leaning so heavily on their batters?