"You remember Hardik the captain and Hardik the batter" - Aakash Chopra on Gujarat Titans' indifferent performances heading into IPL 2024 clash vs CSK

The Gujarat Titans have been found slightly wanting in IPL 2024. [P/C: iplt20.com]
The Gujarat Titans have been found slightly wanting in IPL 2024. [P/C: iplt20.com]

Ahead of the Gujarat Titans' (GT) IPL 2024 clash against the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Ahmedabad on Friday, May 10, Aakash Chopra has opined that Hardik Pandya and Mohammed Shami's absence has dealt them a severe blow. While Hardik moved to the Mumbai Indians (MI), Shami was ruled out of the season due to an ankle injury.

With eight points from 11 games, the Titans are placed last on the points table. They need to win their remaining three league games to stand any chance of qualifying for the playoffs.

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Chopra claimed that Hardik and Shami's absence has put immense pressure on Shubman Gill, who took over the Gujarat Titans' captaincy this season.

"This team's condition has been very bad this time. Let's be fair, they haven't played good cricket. Despite that, if you won so many matches, it's alright. It's a slight fall from grace that you won the final one year, played the final the second year, and suddenly become like this in the third year," he said (6:30).
"You remember Hardik the captain and Hardik the batter - batter more importantly, and Shami the bowler. You couldn't fill those places properly. Overall, the wagon hasn't moved at all. One major reason for that has been that Shubman Gill has come under a lot of pressure as a batter and captain," the former India opener added.

Chopra chose Gill as the first Gujarat Titans player in focus in Friday's game.

"He started decently as a batter but now he has tapered off quite badly. His last year was outstanding but this year is not going good. There are multiple reasons for that. There is captaincy pressure and the pressure of others not doing well. So he has been forced to play slightly differently. He is forced to hit hard," he reasoned.
"What makes you special is that you are technically very compact and play extremely well. So if he sticks to that, I am pretty sure (he will do well), because as it is said - form is temporary and our Gill is class. So Shubman will remain in focus," the former KKR player added.

Gill is the Gujarat Titans' second-highest run-scorer in IPL 2024. The last season's Orange Cap winner has aggregated 322 runs at a slightly underwhelming average of 32.20 in 11 innings this year.

"My second player in focus is Sai Sudharsan" - Aakash Chopra on the other Gujarat Titans players to watch out for

Sai Sudharsan is the Gujarat Titans' top run-getter in IPL 2024. [P/C: iplt20.com]
Sai Sudharsan is the Gujarat Titans' top run-getter in IPL 2024. [P/C: iplt20.com]

Aakash Chopra picked Sai Sudharsan as the second Gujarat Titans player to watch out for against the Chennai Super Kings.

"My second player in focus is Sai Sudharsan because he scored 90-plus runs in the final last year. He has scored less than 30 in two innings but he is a damn good player. He knows these conditions well and also drives the game well. This team doesn't think about scoring 200-250 in any case. They are very happy if they score 160-180 and Sai Sudharsan has that game," he explained (9:35).

The cricketer-turned-commentator chose Rashid Khan as the crucial bowler for the Titans.

"It's not been going good for Rashid. He got hurt and he bowled his most expensive over in the game before that. He conceded 29 runs in an over when Will Jacks went after him. I don't know what's the status of his shoulder injury and he came into this tournament as well after an injury rehab. So it's never easy," he observed.
I say Rashid Khan needs to be focused on because this team does not have any mighty player. Sandeep Warrier is not doing well. Mohit Sharma has completely changed. It's going very ordinary for him. Spencer Johnson plays at times and Joshu Little on other occasions. Azmatullah Omarzai was playing earlier. Umesh Yadav played a few matches. This team hasn't really found any rhythm," Chopra added.

Rashid has picked up eight wickets at an economy rate of 8.29 in 11 games in IPL 2024. His returns are in sharp contrast to last season, where the Afghanistan spinner had scalped 27 wickets in 17 games in the Titans' run to the final.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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