Gujarat has had two IPL teams representing the state, namely Gujarat Lions (GL) and Gujarat Titans (GT).
GL came into existence in 2016 as a temporary replacement after Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) were handed two-year bans for spot-fixing.
GT came into being alongside the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) in the 2022 edition of the IPL, following BCCI’s expansion of the IPL to 10 teams. They even had a Gujarati captain in Hardik Pandya to add to the excitement.
Many fans have drawn parallels between the first-season performances of the two teams. GL topped the table in 2016 and GT are similarly riding high in IPL 2022.
On that note, this article will compare the first-ever starting XIs (in batting order) of the two Gujarat-based teams, six years apart.
No. 1 – Aaron Finch (GL); Shubman Gill (GT)
Aaron Finch has forged a reputation as an IPL journeyman. His ninth franchise in the league, the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), signed him as a replacement for Alex Hales for IPL 2022. Finch had a good IPL 2016 for GL. He was the second-highest run-getter with 393 runs and had five half-centuries from 12 innings.
Shubman Gill has often been touted as a key future player for the Indian team. Playing for KKR before being drafted by GT, Gill started brilliantly this season, scoring 200 runs in his first three innings but his form has tapered off.
No. 2 – Brendon McCullum (GL); Matthew Wade (GT)
An explosive wicketkeeper-batsman who has found great success in the IPL, Brendon McCullum is now retired and serves as the coach for KKR. For GL, he scored 354 runs with a SR of 135.11 in 2016.
An explosive wicketkeeper-batsman who never managed to get going in the IPL, Matthew Wade was picked by GT on the back of his T20 World Cup-winning exploits. He has, however, failed to replicate that form and has been replaced in the XI by Wriddhiman Saha.
No. 3 – Suresh Raina (GL); Vijay Shankar (GT)
Mr. IPL Suresh Raina was handed the captaincy as he served as deputy to MS Dhoni at CSK. Raina played anchor for GL very well, top-scoring for the team with 399 runs to his name. He was not picked by any team in the IPL 2022 auction, shocking many fans.
All-rounder Vijay Shankar was tried as a specialist batsman for a few matches but could not make any impact and was mercilessly trolled.
The No.3 position probably had the biggest gulf in class between the two sides.
No. 4 – Dinesh Karthik (GL); Abhinav Manohar (GT)
GL’s designated keeper was not in the scheme of things for the national team, falling behind Saha and Parthiv Patel as well. He had an average outing in IPL 2016, scoring 335 runs. He was picked by RCB in the 2022 auction and has been a fiery finisher for them, striking at 200.0.
Abhinav Manohar Sadarangani debuted in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy for Karnataka and scored 162 runs in four games at a SR of 150.
These numbers, and his exploits in the Karnataka Premier League, made the Titans bid ₹2.6 crore for him in the 2022 auction. He is yet to make a major impact but has shown glimpses of his talent.
No. 5 – Ishan Kishan (GL); Hardik Pandya (GT)
A babyfaced 18-year-old Ishan Kishan was seen as one for the future in 2016. GL did play him in their first ever game but gave him only five matches overall, and he did not have great numbers.
Mumbai Indians picked him up in 2018, and he has been on an upward trajectory since. He became one of the tournament’s costliest buys with a tag of ₹15.25 crore in 2022 but is having a torrid season.
From one starboy to another, Hardik Pandya was scouted and selected by MI in 2015. He has grown leaps and bounds, becoming India’s premier fast-bowling all-rounder.
Injuries and indifferent form led to a few people doubting him, but he has roared back in this edition of the IPL after being drafted by GT. He has scored 344 runs in 11 innings.
No. 6 – Dwayne Bravo (GL); David Miller (GT)
T20 legend Dwayne Bravo faltered with the bat for GL, but was the second-highest wicket-taker, snapping up 17 wickets. He featured in all but one match for GL and was key in them topping the table. Bravo is now back at CSK.
Gaining fame after his 38-ball 101 for KXIP in 2013, Miller was regarded as one of the best finishers in the game. His form deserted him over the past few seasons and many people thought GT made a mistake buying him in the IPL 2022 auction.
However, he has proven his critics wrong and has played a winning hand for the Titans in some crucial games.
No. 7 – Ravindra Jadeja (GL); Rahul Tewatia (GT)
Ravindra Jadeja played for his home team in 2016. He did not make any major impact for GL, scoring less than 200 with the bat and picking up only eight wickets. He was retained by CSK for the 2022 season and endured a terrible campaign before being ruled out completely via injury.
Tewatia shot to fame in the previous edition after smashing Punjab Kings’ (PBKS) Sheldon Cottrell for 30 runs in an over. GT spent ₹8.75cr on him, and were trolled because many believed him to be a one-season wonder.
The Titans have been proven right as Tewatia has guided them to many wins, including a sensational one against PBKS again.
No. 8 – James Faulkner (GL); Rashid Khan (GT)
‘Man of the Match’ in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup final, James Faulkner always struggled to make a mark in the IPL and 2016 was no different. He played less than half the number of games and had no real impact. Since 2017, his career has been plagued by off-field issues, and he was last seen in the 2022 PSL.
A modern-day franchise cricket legend, Rashid Khan’s drafting was seen as a masterstroke by the Titans. He has taken his time to find his footing but looks to be back at his best over the past couple of matches.
No. 9 – Praveen Kumar (GL); Lockie Ferguson (GT)
Praveen Kumar played every match of GL’s campaign, picking up nine wickets at an economy of 7.7. GL was his last team in the IPL as he retired from all cricket in 2018.
Kiwi quick Lockie Ferguson featured sparingly for KKR over three years, but his quick pace did not go unseen. The Titans picked him up in the auction for a whopping ₹10 crore, but it already looks like a wise buy with Ferguson picking up 12 wickets in 11 games.
No. 10 – Pradeep Sangwan (GL); Varun Aaron (GT)
Pradeep Sangwan is the only player to find himself back with the Gujarat outfit. He came into IPL 2016 off the back of a doping ban. He played only two matches and picked no wickets. In 2022, he is back with GT and has played a couple of games so far.
Varun Aaron was bought in the 2022 auction at his base price. Even then, many expressed surprise because Aaron was no longer the express pacer who could bowl in the 140s with ease. He played the first two games but was dropped after picking up only two wickets with an economy of over 10.
No. 11 – Sarabjit Ladda (GL); Mohammad Shami (GT)
Leg-spinner Ladda played the first game and was then dropped altogether, never playing again in IPL 2016. Ladda now currently plays in the USA and aims to break into the American national team.
After excelling over the last three seasons for PBKS, the Titans purchased Shami for ₹6.25 crore . He started off the tournament with a bang, bagging KL Rahul’s wicket with his first ball. His economy has wavered since, but he remains GT’s highest wicket-taker with 16 scalps.
Q. Which team do you think had the better players?
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