IPL 2022: Hardik has thrived as Gujarat Titans' captain, says Ravi Shastri

GT finished IPL 2022 league stage as table-toppers
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GT finished IPL 2022 league stage as table-toppers

Highlights

  • GT finished IPL 2022 league stage as table-toppers
  • They won 10 out of their 14 league games
  • Hardik-led GT are currently playing in the Qualifier 1

Former India head coach Ravi Shastri has heaped praise on Hardik Pandya, saying the Gujarat Titans (GT) skipper has thrived in his new role.

Under Hardik's captaincy, newcomers GT finished at the top of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 table and are currently playing the Qualifier 1 against Rajasthan Royals (RR) at Eden Gardens, Kolkata.

Hardik's focus and composure impressed has impressed Shastri, especially for coming up the batting order to lead GT from the front with the bat.

"Hardik has been most impressive as a leader but what I liked most about him were his focus and his composure. He has had his eyes on the ball from the outset. He thrived on that responsibility of being captain - he had mentioned over there that it was for his home state where he was born and he was brought up. It's that added pressure and he thrived on it.

"He accepted that responsibility by coming up the order because he knew he might not be bowling in all the matches. So to stay relevant, to stay as a leader leading from the front he had to come up that one position or two positions up the order," Shastri said on Star Sports.

Shastri, who expected Hardik to bowl in GT's crucial Qualifier 1 against RR on Tuesday, was proved right as the GT skipper did bowl two overs. Hardik also dismissed RR's key middle-order batter Devdutt Padikkal for 28 off 20 balls. RR set a target of 189 for GT.

The former India captain also said that GT would not have anything to lose against RR as the winner will book a place in the final, while the loser will get another opportunity when they play the winner of the Eliminator in Qualifier 2.

"Gujarat have nothing to lose, they have played excellent cricket and they have got.. just like (Jos) Buttler for Rajasthan Royals, they have Shubman Gill who is due for runs and if he starts off, he can score very quickly," added Shastri.

GT were in the magnificent form before the playoffs as they became the first team to reach the IPL 2022 playoffs. They won 10 of their 14 matches and sealed the top position on the table.

Hardik has led GT from the front, scoring 413 runs and hitting four half-centuries. This is already his best run with the bat in an IPL season.

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