Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra reckons that the Gujarat Titans (GT) must start looking beyond the out-of-form Matthew Wade in IPL 2022 and give opportunities to other keeper-batters waiting in the wings.
The 34-year-old has opened the batting with Shubman Gill in all of Gujarat’s five IPL 2022 matches thus far. He has failed to make an impact, managing only 68 runs at an average of 13.60 and a strike rate of 107.94.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Wriddhiman Saha are the other wicketkeeper-batters in the GT squad for IPL 2022. Urging the Gujarat think tank to give either of them a chance when they take on the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Sunday, Chopra said on his YouTube channel:
“There is some concern with regards to Gujarat’s batting. Shubman Gill will have to score runs because Matthew Wade is not scoring at all. It’s been five matches, so the time has come to try Rahmanullah Gurbaz or Wriddhiman Saha. Sai Sudarshan would be a better option than Vijay Shankar at 3. Abhinav Manohar has done a good job with the bat.”
Coming in for an unfit Shankar, Sudarshan scored 35 off 30 in GT's six-wicket win over Punjab Kings (PBKS). However, he was dropped after just one failure against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Shankar was recalled for the game against Rajasthan Royals (RR). The latter, however, was dismissed for just two off seven deliveries.
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“He will also get out early at some stage” - Chopra cautions GT against over-reliance on Pandya
Gujarat have done well so far in their debut IPL season, winning four out of five matches. They have impressed in both the batting and bowling departments. However, according to Chopra, things are not as rosy, especially in the batting. He opined that the franchise cannot be overly dependent on captain Hardik Pandya in the middle-order. The cricketer-turned-analyst elaborated:
“Hardik Pandya has batted really well, but he will also get out early at some stage. It is not like he's going to come in and score big runs every time. So while there are no concerns in the bowling, batting is a problem. David Miller did well in one game but he has not been that consistent. Rahul Tewatia is batting too low and hence opportunities are limited for him.”
Pandya has been in exceptional form with the bat in IPL 2022. In five matches, he has slammed 228 runs at an average of 76 and a strike rate of 136.53.