Gujarat Lions Gujarati News: For the second time in its brief existence, the Gujarat Lions will participate in the Indian Premier League and this might well be the last time we see the team perform in the big league. The team is playing the last season of their two-year stint. Team owner Keshav Bansal is positive that a repeat of the stellar run as seen in their first appearance can change the equation with BCCI. Speaking after a product promotion event in Ahmedabad on Wednesday, Bansal shared his vision for the future of the Lions.
The IPL Experience
To be honest, I was extremely thrilled and quite surprised with the tremendous support we saw coming from the Gujaratis as they had formerly s u p p o r t e d Mumbai Indians and the Rajasthan Royals. Now that they have a local team to root for, their support has been a humbling e x p e r i e n c e . Watching fans throng hotels across the country to catch a glimpse of their favourite players and not to forget the large support we saw on the grounds, was all in all a morale boosting feel.
What next for Gujarat Lions?
As we all know BCCI is undergoing a change of guard. Once their elections conclude, we will be in a better spot to take our case further with the BCCI. Right now we are focused on lifting the IPL and if we manage to win we can make a strong case before the BCCI. Actions will speak louder than words here.
Is the parent company keen?
We had bought the team to give more exposure to our brand, which did great for our business. We also received a lot of love and the adulation from our supporters. However the latter part is secondary on our list of priorities and we need to be clear about our focus. We would love to play for more than two years, but there are many things to be factored in if we are to run that long. We can only comment on our intentions after things normalise within the BCCI.
Munaf’s selection and lack of Int’l bowlers
All our players are taken in after factoring what the coach and captain advise. If you remember last year we had Pravin Kumar in the side, and the same questions were raised. He won us three matches singlehandedly. Munaf’s fitness levels are impeccable especially taking his age and experience into account, albeit his track record may be poor right now. But make no mistake he is a match winner. Also, we were weak in our bowling department last year but Munaf will add strength and experience to the side. We always had a flock of foreign players and most of them are batsmen. This time we have a mix of young domestic bowlers such as Nathu Singh, Basil Thampi and a lot is expected from them.
On youngsters and local talent
Our focus has always been nurturing domestic talent and we want to push our youngsters on to the pedestal so that they can deliver us the victory we seek. Last season we had given a chance to Akshadeep Nath who played well for us and this time we have Shubham Agrawal who is a great find. As far as picking up local talent is concerned especially some one like Priyank Panchal, it is the coach and captain’s decision. I discussed the choice they made two days before the auction and more often than not stuck with their choices. I understand the sentiment that local players need to be added to the team, but if you look at other teams how many local players do they sport. I do not have any attachment with any other state due to which I pick players from there. The best player plays and we run the team on that logic. If a local player has the same calibre it only offers an additional advantage and does not constitute as the prime mover for the team.