Hardik Pandya mentioned as Ashish Nehra drops ‘better captain’ remark on Shubman Gill

Gujarat Titans (GT) head coach Ashish Nehra has expressed his excitement over seeing newly-appointed captain Shubman Gill operate as the skipper of the franchise in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024.

Gill was handed the captaincy role at Gujarat Titans (GT) after the departure of Hardik Pandya. The star all-rounder Pandya led the Ahmedabad-based franchise in its first two seasons and performed exceptionally well.

GT reached the finals of the IPL in both seasons they took part in under Pandya’s captaincy. They won the IPL 2022 season and lost to Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the summit clash in the next season.

Despite his success with GT, Hardik Pandya wanted to move back to his former IPL franchise – Mumbai Indians – with whom he started his IPL journey. As per Ashish Nehra, they didn’t try to stop Pandya after he expressed his wish to move back to the Mumbai-based franchise.

As Pandya left GT, he was appointed as the captain of Mumbai Indians (MI) replacing Rohit Sharma at the helm. The vacant captaincy spot at GT was filled by Gill, who was among the three players bought by the franchise before the IPL 2022 mega auction. Just like Pandya, Gill will be captaining GT with no prior captaincy experience at the highest level of the game.

Speaking to reporters about this, head coach Ashish Nehra said that the GT support staff are looking forward to helping Gill grow as a person, which would eventually make him become a better leader.

“The whole of India, not only me,” he said, as quoted by ESPNcricinfo. “He is that kind of player. He is someone who is looking to play and looking to do well in all three formats. So we as a franchise, as a support staff, are really excited to help him grow as a person more than as a captain. If he grows as a person, then he will definitely be a better captain going forward.”

“And you know, Hardik also did not captain anywhere before he captained GT. Now there are ten teams. This is not the first example. You will see more and more people, you know, somebody like Shreyas Iyer, even Nitish Rana did captaincy for KKR. So this is a great experience for all these guys and let’s see who capitalises on that and move ahead, again, first as a person then as a player.”

Shubman Gill has been the top performer for the Gujarat Titans (GT) with the bat in the Indian Premier League (IPL). He is the only batter from the franchise to breach the 1000-run mark as he has scored 1373 runs at an average of 47.34 and a strike rate of 147.79, with 3 centuries and 8 fifties.

You can’t buy experience to replace Hardik Pandya, Mohammed Shami, it’s not going to be easy – Ashish Nehra

Hardik Pandya is not the only player Gujarat Titans (GT) will be missing in the Indian Premier League 2024 as they will also be without the services of the premier pacer Mohammed Shami, who has been their top performer in the bowling department. The veteran fast bowler has been out of action since the ICC World Cup 2023 with an injury and will miss IPL 2024.

Talking about Shami’s absence, Ashish Nehra admitted that there is no substitute for experience but said that they need to move on and expect other players to step up on big occasions.

“In any sport, you have to move on. You can’t buy experience to replace Hardik, Shami, it’s not going to be easy,” Nehra said. “But there’s the learning curve. Every year, new guys come and they step in and that’s how teams move forward. In IPL, every team has the luxury of 25 players. It’s a 12-person game, but you are talking about Hardik Pandya and Shami – to fill those shoes is not easy. But like I said, we have enough people, Umesh Yadav, again a guy who has been playing IPL [for] 10-12 years. Sai Kishore, he didn’t play last year, but he’s been doing so well. So every year, you will see new guys and you have to believe in yourself and prepare for that.”

Meanwhile, power-hitter Shahrukh Khan entered the IPL 2024 auction as one of the hottest properties and he was snapped up by Gujarat Titans (GT) for a whopping 7.40 crore after they won an intense bidding war against Punjab Kings (PBKS).

According to Ashish Nehra, Shahrukh Khan will be the ‘main actor’ of the team when it comes to finishing the matches in IPL 2024.

“We’re going to see Shahrukh Khan become the main actor,” Nehra said when answering a question about the finishers in the squad, “IPL is a very long tournament. It’s not like we’re playing just three, four, five matches. Conditions are also difficult in May and June. It will be hard on the players, especially fast bowlers. Injuries can also happen. So every player we have is important and those we have are experienced. Spencer Johnson, if you see, wherever he’s played, he’s played well. Azmatullah Omarzai again, he has all the skills in this world as an allrounder and we are very hopeful that they’ll have a great IPL.”


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