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All eyes on Panyda, Gill as MI take on Titans

Source: PTI
March 23, 2024 14:11 IST
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Hardik Pandya

IMAGE: Having led Gujarat Titans to the title and runners-up finish in the last two seasons, Hardik Pandya returns to Mumbai Indians as captain in IPL 2024. Photograph: BCCI

Hardik Pandya will be aiming to build on the rich legacy of his predecessor Rohit Sharma when he begins his Mumbai Indians captaincy stint in the IPL 2024 match against Gujarat Titans, the team the star all-rounder marshalled over last two seasons, in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

Such are the professional ways of the IPL that Pandya, having led Titans to the title and runners-up finish in the previous two seasons, has gone to back to Mumbai Indians where he made a name for himself.


The tournament also marks Pandya's comeback from a 'freak' ankle injury sustained in the middle of the ODI World Cup in October.

The form of the injury-prone all-rounder with both bat and ball will be closely tracked in the tournament that precedes the T20 World Cup in the USA and Caribbean.

With Pandya moving on to the other side, Titans will be led by Shubman Gill, who assumes the responsibility with very little captaincy experience.

Mumbai have been grappling with fitness issues to thurnament eir key players, including star batter Suryakumar Yadav, who is yet to obtain fitness clearance from the NCA.

Left-arm pacers Jason Behrendorff and Dilshan Madushanka are already ruled out of the IPL while new recruit Gerald Coetzee, nursing a groin injury, may not be available for the first few games.

Having led Mumbai to as many as five IPL titles, India skipper Rohit will turn up as a player this season and be expected to hit top form ahead of the ICC event in June.

Another player whose performance will be scrutinized is Ishan Kishan, who will have a point to prove after losing his BCCI central contract for defying the Board's diktat on domestic cricket.

The southpaw, who missed the entire Test series against England, preferred to train on his own for the IPL and did not turn out for his state side, Jharkhand, in the Ranji Trophy.

The fight for the wicket-keeper batter's slot in the World Cup squad will be intense and Kishan needs to be at the top of his game over the next two months.

Besides Pandya, Mohammad Nabi and Romario Shepherd are the other quality all-round options Mumbai possess.

Domestic players like Akash Madhwal and Nehal Wadhera will be looking to build on their performances of the previous season.

On the Titans front, Gill has been tasked to ensure that the team maintains the remarkable consistency it showed in its first two seasons. He could be one of the future leaders for India, but for that to happen he must prove himself on the IPL stage.

He was the leading run-getter last season and the franchise would be hoping that captaincy doesn't impact his batting in anyway.

The Titans are bound to miss the services of Mohammed Shami, who recently underwent surgery to repair an Achillies tendon and will be back only in the second half of the year.

The return of trump card Rashid Khan from back surgery is a massive boost for the Titans. The Afghanistan spinner made his comeback in the series against Ireland last week.            

Among the new faces in the squad, left-arm pacer Spencer Johnson and Azmatullah Omarazai, will be looking to make a mark on the world's biggest T20 league. 


Mumbai Indians: Hardik Pandya (captain), Rohit Sharma, Dewald Brevis, Jasprit Bumrah, Piyush Chawla, Gerald Coetzee, Tim David, Shreyas Gopal, Ishan Kishan, Anshul Kamboj, Kumar Kartikeya, Akash Madhwal, Kwena Maphaka, Mohammad Nabi, Shams Mulani, Naman Dhir, Shivalik Sharma, Romario Shepherd, Arjun Tendulkar, Nuwan Thushara, Tilak Varma, Vishnu Vinod, Nehal Wadhera, Luke Wood, Suryakumar Yadav.

Gujarat Titans: Shubman Gill (captain), Azmatullah Omarzai, Spencer Johnson, Kartik Tyagi, Josh Little, Abhinav Manohar, David Miller, Sushant Mishra, Darshan Nalkande, Noor Ahmad, Rashid Khan, Wriddhiman Saha, Sai Kishore, Sai Sudharsan, M Shahrukh Khan, Vijay Shankar, BR Sharath, Mohit Sharma, Manav Suthar, Rahul Tewatia, Matthew Wade, Kane Williamson, Jayant Yadav, Umesh Yadav.

Match starts: 7.30 PM IST.

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