IPL GT vs MI | Hardik begins new stint as MI skipper against his former team

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It will be interesting to see how Gill starts his captaincy career in the IPL.
| Photo Credit: VIJAY SONEJI

When Gujarat Titans punted on Hardik Pandya as skipper during its inaugural season in 2022, there were many raised eyebrows.

But he proved all naysayers wrong by winning the title and was soon deemed good enough to helm the national team.

On Sunday, when GT takes on Mumbai Indians in its 2024 season-opener at the Narendra Modi Stadium here, it will hope that a second such bet, this time on Shubman Gill, proves as successful.

The 24-year-old Gill’s biggest test will be to cover for the absences of Hardik and Mohammed Shami. Afghan Azmatullah Omarzai is expected to do Hardik’s job, but for that, GT has to find a creative solution to fill its overseas slots.

Rashid Khan and David Miller are sure-shot starters and there is Kane Williamson, Noor Ahmad, Josh Little and the ₹10 crore Aussie pacer Spencer Johnson.

Left-arm spinner R. Sai Kishore (53 wickets in the Ranji Trophy) gives GT a solid Indian option while Umesh Yadav has the arduous task of ensuring Shami is not missed.

MI’s new leader Hardik also has a headache, for he will be without star batter Suryakumar Yadav.

But Jasprit Bumrah’s return is a shot in the arm, and if Ishan Kishan can dispel the gloom that has seemingly enveloped his career at present, MI will be relieved.

There is also Tilak Varma, who between the last edition and now has made his India debut. In Rohit Sharma, the side has its guiding light.

Of late, his batting in white-ball cricket has been thrill-a-minute.

A further unshackling, without captaincy responsibilities, will be a sight to behold.

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