Hardik Pandya’s trade from Gujarat Titans to Mumbai Indians has been the talking point of the IPL retention day. Hours after the star all-rounder was retained by the Titans, the transfer news to the five-time IPL winners in an all-cash deal was unveiled.
The Titans named opening batter Shubman Gill as their new captain on Monday, November 27. The 2022 IPL champions now have a task to fill in the shoes of a player who can bat at No. 4 and get them some handy overs.
It will be improbable for the GT think tank to search for an ideal replacement for a player stature of Hardik Pandya. In this article, we will present some close alternatives. Titans have already retained Vijay Shankar in their squad and they will also have the services of spin-bowling all-rounders Rashid Khan and Rahul Tewatia.
3 all-rounders Gujarat Titans can look for Hardik Pandya’s replacement
#1 Shardul Thakur
Shardul Thakur was the biggest shock release from the 12 players released by Kolkata Knight Riders ahead of the IPL 2024 auction. He can bowl the full quota of overs, better in conditions assisting the movement of the ball.
Shardul had a decent outing with the ball last season, picking up just seven wickets in nine innings at an economy rate of 10.48. He smashed a 29-ball 68 against Royal Challengers Bangalore at Eden Gardens in KKR’s 81-run victory, where he walked away as the Player of the Match.
The Mumbai all-rounder was part of MS Dhoni’s victorious CSK side in 2018 and 2021. He has snapped 89 wickets in 83 IPL innings at a strike rate of 18.83 with best figures of 4/36.
Thakur’s presence can bolster the Titans’ pace attack, comprising Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma, and Joshua Little, in place of Hardik Pandya.
#2 Abhimanyusingh Rajput
Abhimanyusingh Rajput is versatile in the batting order, a bit like Hardik Pandya. He often bats at No. 3 for Baroda in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2023 and played some crucial knocks in the knockout stage.
He made 27 off 21 balls in the quarterfinal to help his side eliminate the defending champions Mumbai while chasing a moderate target of 149.
Rajput’s 42-ball belligerent 61 went in vain in the final after Baroda lost to eventual champions Punjab by 20 runs. However, the right-arm medium pacer played a key role with the ball, accounting for 13 dismissals at an average of 17.69.
He claimed 4/29 against Assam, including the important wicket of skipper Riyan Parag, in the semi-final to be adjudged as the Player of the Match.
#3 T. Ravi Teja
Telukupalli Ravi Teja is a household name in the Hyderabad cricket team and has been playing T20 cricket for more than six years. He has played 35 T20 matches in domestic cricket and has accounted for 51 dismissals at 17.58.
He finished as the leading wicket-taker of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2023. He took 19 scalps in seven matches, including career-best figures of 6/13 against Chattisgarh.
The 29-year-old helped Hyderabad register six wins in seven matches in Group A. However, they finished third in the points table behind Mumbai and Baroda and thus missed the knockout round.
Teja’s 4/32 were instrumental in Hyderabad’s 23-run win over Mumbai. His victims included Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ajinkya Rahane, and Shivam Dube.
The Hyderabad all-rounder doesn’t have fancy numbers to back his batting credentials. But he can play a pinch-hitter role in the lower middle order, a role Hardik Pandya previously played at Mumbai Indians.
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