Gujarat Giants

How Gujarat Giants can revive their IPL 2024 campaign | Sport Buzz

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The Gujarat Giants are embarking on a new journey, leaving behind a challenging inaugural season marked by injuries, controversies, and inconsistencies. The team has hit the reset button, bringing about significant changes in their setup. The experienced Michael Klinger has taken over as the head coach from Rachael Haynes, who was at the helm last year. Beth Mooney, their captain, is back in action after an injury had sidelined her in the tournament opener, which would have been her first season.

The Giants retained only eight of their 18 players, including some proven international stars, and built a new team around this core in the mini auction held last December. The team primarily bolstered their batting and pace-bowling departments, resulting in a well-balanced squad, despite some injury concerns. The Giants stand out in the 2024 season as the only team with the option to include five overseas players in their playing XI, thanks to the signing of Kathryn Bryce, a medium-pace allrounder from Scotland. However, the team’s success will hinge on how quickly the new coach and the returning captain can unite the revamped squad.

In the previous season, the Giants finished last, managing only two wins in eight games. The mini-auction was an opportunity for them to address their middle-order and fast-bowling issues. They invested INR 1 Crore in Australian batting sensation Phoebe Litchfield, who impressed everyone during Australia’s recent multi-format tour of India. Her performance has led the Giants’ management to reconsider their opening combination. The team also added experienced Indian finisher Veda Krishnamurthy to strengthen their lower order.

In the pace department, the Giants spent heavily on uncapped 20-year-old Kashvee Gautam, who was later ruled out of the tournament due to an undisclosed injury. They also signed Australia’s Lauren Cheatle and Indian seamer Meghana Singh. Lea Tahuhu, who replaced Cheatle, will compensate for any lack of experience in the department. The Giants now have an associate player in their ranks, giving them the tactical advantage of including a fifth foreign player in their final XI.

The player to watch this season is Beth Mooney. The captain of the two-time WBBL title winner Brisbane Heat, Mooney was appointed Giants captain ahead of the inaugural edition. However, a calf injury on the opening night delayed her captaincy debut by a year. Despite her limited captaincy experience, Mooney’s exceptional form with the bat can inspire her team. The Australian opener has been a consistent performer, especially against India, and has played crucial roles in all three recent T20 finales – the 2020 and 2023 World Cup and the 2022 CWG – helping Australia clinch the gold on all three occasions. Since the final in Melbourne, Mooney has scored 16 of her 22 T20I fifties, averaging 47.60 with a total of 1571 runs in 49 matches. She was the top-scorer at the 2023-24 WBBL, scoring 557 runs, including six half-centuries, and was in good form during Australia’s most recent multi-format tour of India.

The Giants have already faced a couple of major setbacks in their pace department, the most significant being the injury to their Rs 2 crore buy. Despite these challenges, the team is hopeful and ready for the new season.

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