‘It takes time to…’: Gary Kirsten backs under-fire GT skipper Shubman Gill |

AHMEDABAD: Under Hardik Pandya‘s leadership, the Gujarat Titans had achieved remarkable success, reaching consecutive IPL finals in 2022 and 2023. However, the team’s fortunes have taken a downturn under the captaincy of Shubman Gill this season, as they find themselves at the bottom of the table with seven losses and only four wins in 11 games.
A significant challenge for the Titans has been the lack of runs from Gill.In the last five outings, Gill has struggled to make an impact with the bat, registering three single-digit scores and a highest score of only 35. This dip in form has added to the team’s woes and contributed to their disappointing performance this season.
Gujarat Titans batting coach Gary Kirsten, however, felt that Gill has enjoyed the leadership role, but captaincy is something that takes time to master.
“I think he’s enjoyed the captaincy, it’s something that takes time to really master, but I think he’s enjoyed it this season,” Kirsten said.
“He’s a world-class player, I have no doubt that in the next three games he’s going to put in one or two really good performances.”
Kirsten also acknowledged the challenge of replacing the injured Mohammed Shami, who has been a pivotal pace weapon for the team, particularly during the powerplay overs, over the past two seasons.
“I think you do miss players. Obviously someone like a Shami who was big for us in the last two years, that kind of a player is difficult to replace. You can’t replace world-class bowlers like that.
“There are some talented young bowlers in our group, but it takes time to find your feet against guys that are wanting to trade every ball for six.”
The South African said the Powerplay has exposed the bowling of many teams this season.
“That’s an area where I think all the teams have been exposed. The powerplay has been a tough place to bowl this season. But saying that, a little bit in the wicket, you nick a few batters off and anything can happen.
“Ahmedabad is traditionally a wicket that does a little bit up-front. So, tomorrow it could turn around and the seamers can get some wickets for us and we can get 2-3 wickets quite quickly and then the whole game changes.”
GT are technically still in the mix though with a maximum tally of 14 points, it would be very difficult for them to qualify.
Kirsten wants his team to produce a “solid” show in the last 3 games.
“We haven’t played the kind of cricket we know that we can play. There are certain components of our game that haven’t been as consistent as in the past. So for the last three games, we just want to play solid cricket in all departments of the game, because if you don’t, you’ll get exposed.
“So hopefully one or two guys put in some match-winning performances tomorrow and we can play a good game of cricket.”
Kirsten said his team will need to find a way to take wickets in the Powerplay so that spinners can come into the picture.
“If we bowl reasonably well in the power play, it helps our spinners big time because then the spinners can bowl to new batters, which makes a big difference.”

Purist Kirsten wants balance between bat and ball

As a purist who values the balance between bat and ball, Kirsten is concerned about the overwhelming dominance of batters in the current IPL season. He urges the BCCI to explore ways to restore equilibrium between batting and bowling in the league.
This season has been particularly challenging for bowlers, with IPL teams achieving 250-plus totals on eight occasions, indicating a significant advantage for the batsmen.
Kirsten’s sentiments reflect a broader concern within the cricketing community regarding the need to maintain the integrity and competitiveness of the game by ensuring a fair balance between batting and bowling prowess in T20 cricket.
“I’m a cricket purist and I like to see an even contest between bat and ball,” said Kirsten during the press conference ahead of their clash against Chennai Super Kings.
“So, however, the authorities of the game decide which way to go. The most important thing is that it’s an even contest. And if it becomes uneven, I would like that to be addressed as best they can.
“However they make that decision, it needs to be an even contest between bat and ball and maybe it hasn’t so much this IPL. I think it’s like the batter is dominating the IPL more.”
(With PTI inputs)


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