When the Lions first marched into the ‘Jungle’ no one believed their roar would be as loud as it was. Led by one of the best IPL players, Suresh Raina, the Lions were on top of the points table in IPL season 9.
However, the team lost some momentum in the second phase and lost in the semifinals of IPL 9.
Owned by young and dynamic Keshav Bansal, Gujarat Lions, was one of the new entrants of IPL 2016 after two teams Chennai and Rajasthan were banned for some reasons.
Lions often draws a comparison with Chennai SuperKings and gives a glimpse of two teams, Chennai and Pune Supergiants. With Raina, Bravo and Jadeja, three top players of now defunct Chennai, the Lions are a mix of players mostly from Pune and Dhoni’s Superkings.
With one day left in the IPL season 10 to begin, the team looks solid with the likes of Mccullum, Finch, Faulkner and Raina who are looking ready to roar even louder this time again.
Apart from some biggies in the Lions’ dug out, the team also bought the another ‘Sehwag’ in making, the cream of crop in Jason Roy with few youngsters like Nathu Singh, Basil Thampy and UAE’s Chirag Suri.
So… if the Lions have to rule the Jungle, they would have to get well as a unit and fire on all cylinders.
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Here is a look at the key players from Gujarat whose form would be crucial in taking their side all the way to clinching their maiden title.
Brendon Mccullum: “We won’t fear the air, no fielders up there.” No words can describe the cruel McCullum but wait!! numbers can, 158*. The Powerful, the fearless, the destructor McCullum is the power house of lions.
Aaron Finch: He is the mixture of power and consistency and hailed as 'Mr. Dependable' of Gujarat Lions.
Suresh Raina: The man who leads the pride onward and beyond. Suresh Raina the captain of Lions was the highest run getter for Gujarat Lions in last years IPL. Once again, Lions would be relying on their leader.
Jason Roy: T20 is a game of Joy and Jason Roy. The next Sehwag in making is my favourite player of IPL 10. He has shown what he can do in recent India-England series.
Ravindra Jadeja: Nam to suna hi hoga?(Must have heard the name?) ‘Sir’ Ravindra Jadeja is the magician who can turn the game in his favour in no time. The no. 1 Test bowler in the world can also get some quickies and biggies. Hey..wait! is there anything he can’t do? ‘Sir’ Jadeja can simply do anything.
But there are also few things Lions should worry about, their weaknesses:
Injury: The inform Jadeja received a little injury and probably miss few initial matches. Another Lion, DJ Bravo is doing his comeback after recovering from Injury and no one can give assurance of his match-winning performances what he is known for.
Bowling: Gujarat Lions having a wonderful batting line up would miss one thing, couple of top notch fast bowlers.
Bowling department of Lions is a little weaker as compared to their batting order.
Praveen Kumar, Munaf Patel are out of national team for quite some time and with the 4 overseas players limit, it is unlikely that Andrew Tye will get to play most of the matches.
So, after analysing the strength and weakness, we have to select the probable team eleven of Lions.
Probable Playing XI: Suresh Raina(C), Mccullum, Jason Roy, Aaron Finch, Dinesh Karthik, James Faulkner, Ishan Kisan, Praveen Kumar, Basil Thampi, Shivil Kaushik, Munaf Patel.
Complete Squad: Nathu Singh, Basil Thampy, Tejas Singh Baroka, Manpreet Gony, Jason Roy, Munaf Patel, Chirag Suri, Shelly Shaurya, Shubham Agrawal, Pratham Singh, Aksh Deep Nath, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, James Faulkner, Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Bravo, Aaron Finch, Dwayne Smith, Dinesh Karthik, Dhawal Kulkarni, Praveen Kumar, Andrew Tye, Ishan Kishan, Pradeep Sangwan, Shivil Kaushik, Shadab Jakati, Jaydev Shah.
Batsmen: Suresh Raina(Captain), Dinesh Kartik(wicketkeeper), Brendon Mccullum, Aaron Finch/ Jason Roy, Chirag Suri
All-rounder: James Faulkner /DJ Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja
Bowlers: Praveen Kumar, Andrew Tye, Dhawal Kulkarni, Shivil Kaushik