One of the two newest entrants to the Indian Premier League (IPL) gala, Gujarat Lions (GL) impressed all and sundry with their performance in their inaugural season. Led by Suresh Raina, GL had proceeded to the semi-final stage but were defeated by both Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the penultimate stages. With IPL 10 approaching, Raina and co. will look to make amends and win their maiden title. While they have well-known players like Aaron Finch, Brendon McCullum, Jason Roy and James Faulkner in their armoury, here are a few players who are not as popular the big stars but can emerge as the key players. Gujarat Lions in IPL 2017 Preview: Will Raina-led team go the distance in IPL 10?
Shadab Jakati (India, uncapped)
Contract worth: INR 2,000,000
Among one of Gujarat’s domestic assets is Shadab Jakati. The veteran Goa cricketer, even after playing in IPL since 2009, is yet to get his due popularity, and this season might just be the most successful for him. Though 2016 was not among his best IPL seasons, his experience may help him mould into a brand new avatar in 2017. He will find enough assistance from Indian pitches.
IPL history: Picked in 2009 by Chennai Super Kings (CSK), in 2014 by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), in 2016 by Gujarat Lions
Matches: 57 | Wickets: 47 | Econ: 7.95 | 4w: 2
Nathu Singh (India, uncapped)
Contract worth: INR 5,000,000
Nathu Singh has impressed critics with his performance at domestic level, and is all set for his share of limelight at a bigger platform. Having playing in 13 First-Class matches, the 21-year-old Rajasthan pacer has picked up 30 wickets, showing his consistency. He maintains an economy below 6 in domestic T20 matches, thanks to his wicket-to-wicket, disciplined bowling.
IPL history: Debut
Basil Thampi (India, uncapped)
Contract worth: INR 8,500,000
Gujarat Lions have kept in mind the restriction of using foreign players and banked on domestic talents. Basil Thampi is just another example of their strategy. Thampi has been in good form lately, picking up wickets regularly. In the recent domestic T20 season, Thampi bagged two three-fors while maintaining good economy. Thampi will be batting-heavy GL’s trump card with the ball.
IPL history: Debut
Squad: Suresh Raina (c), Aaron Finch, Akshdeep Nath, Andrew Tye, Basil Thampi, Brendon McCullum, Chirag Suri, Dhawal Kulkarni, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith, Ishan Kishan, James Faulkner, Jason Roy, Jaydev Shah, Manpreet Gony, Munaf Patel, Nathu Singh, Pradeep Sangwan, Pratham Singh, Praveen Kumar, Ravindra Jadeja, Shadab Jakati, Shelley Shaurya