There is no hierarchy in a team of equals and that has been precisely the success mantra for Gujarat Titans, said ace all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who took over the captaincy in the early year of the new franchise like fish go to water. Out of favor and struggling with his back injury since his T20 World Cup appearance in the UAE last year, Pandya’s elevation to captaincy for the new franchise had raised a few eyebrows ahead of the season. But the Titans have turned heads with eight wins from nine games, including five in a row following Saturday’s six-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore to virtually seal their playoff berth in their early season.
“As a person, I always make sure that I don’t just want to grow as an individual. I like to grow with my teammates or people around me. That is also the reason for our success. Obviously I may be the captain, but there is not a hierarchy,” Pandya said during the post-match media interaction at Mumbai’s Brabourne Stadium.
“Everyone is on the same path – one for all and all for one. That’s the approach we’re taking and that’s why I think the guys feel they are just as important as the captain.
“So yes, of course enjoying the new opportunity, fantastic group of people around. With the results heading our way, I couldn’t ask for a better start,” the 28-year-old added.
In chasing 171, GT was reduced to 95/4 within 13 overs as they had a rise of 58 from 30 balls, while Rahul Tewatia (43 not from 25 balls) again played the part of a finisher with David Miller (39 not from ; 24b) in his company.
The duo crossed the line with three balls left as GT now has 16 points out of nine, almost certain of making it to the playoffs.
“Rahul has been great for us. The kind of confidence he has is fantastic. They (Rahul and Miller) step up when they get the chance and make sure they get the job for the team,” he said.
Recently at the Wankhede, Tewatia hit an unbeaten 40 off 21 balls while Rashid Khan made an 11 ball 31 to pull off a raid against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
“With the kind of players we have, including someone like Tewatia, Rashid and Miller, it gives a lot of value. Obviously we support their batting, it gives me more confidence that even 8-9-10 can win the game for Dat is a good sign for us,” he said.
Hardik also gave great credit to his bowlers to retain Indian batter Virat Kohli after returning to form in 14 games in his first half-century (58; 53b).
“We executed our plans pretty well for him. There was one point where he was in his zone, turning the strike well and that’s where our bowlers made sure they got some point balls there to break their momentum.
“Rajat (Patidar) also did a fantastic job at one point, but our bowlers made sure they kept it tight especially against Virat and didn’t let him get into his rhythm,” he added.
The injury-prone Indian all-rounder has not bowled in the past three matches.
“As for my bowling, I don’t have to… When it comes, it comes,” he concluded.
Gujarat Titans takes on the Punjab Kings next at the DY Patil Navi Mumbai on May 3.
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