New Delhi: The tenth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will be Gujarat Lions' just second bow in the cash-rich league. Suresh Raina's team topped the league stage last-season, but two successive defeats to Hyderabad and Bangalore saw them crash out one step before the final of the competition.
Here is a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Gujarat Lions and who could be their possible trump card.
1. BATTING PROWESS
Gujarat's batting line-up boasts of some of the big name players, who are capable of winning the match on their own. Brendon McCullum, Jason Roy, Aaron Finch and Dwayne Smith are capable of ripping apart any bowling line-up in the league while Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik are equally destructible Indian batsmen that they have in their ranks.
2. INDIAN BOWLERS
There are so many talented Indian bowlers in the Gujarat line-up that the team management will have a selection headache ahead of every match that they play in the league. Dhawal Kulkarni, Praveen Kumar and Munaf Patel are the pace trio who will form the core of Lions' bowling department. While young pacer Nathu Singh can clock up to 140 km/h and could prove to be a valuable assets for Gujarat.
1. INJURED ALL-ROUNDERS
Injuries to star all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo threatens to derail Gujarat's campaigns before the duo even make a comeback into the line-up. Jadeja had a brilliant season for India before the IPL and it's a shame that he has been ruled out for the initial stages of the league. Meanwhile, Bravo will be out of action for a bit longer as the West Indian is expected to make a return only after Gujarat have played seven matches into the campaign. Onus will be on James Faulkner to fill the huge gap left by Bravo.
2. OVERSEAS BOWLERS
Although, Gujarat have no dearth of Indian bolwers, it's the absence of a big-name front-line bowler that Raina's team will miss throughout the season. Apart from Faulkner, the Indian stars will have to provide Gujarat will the breakthroughs early on with the new ball. Also, no quality spinner in the team, doesn't help their cause either as in the absence of injured Jadeja, the team will have to rely on the local talents.
With a point to prove, skipper Suresh Raina can be the difference for Gujarat in IPL-10. Raina didn't have a great IPL last season according to his own high standards and with a chance to seal a place into India's Champions Trophy 2017 squad, Raina will be eager for a good show in this edition of the league.
2017 PREDICTION: LEAGUE STAGE
Gujarat have a very top-heavy line-up and their progression into the knockouts could be scuppered by the lack of quality bowlers in their squad.