The Rajkot-based IPL franchise has been extremely busy of late. They announced the team will be known as Gujarat Lions, while also appointing Suresh Raina as the captain of the new franchise. Brad Hodge has also been named the coach of the team, and the Australian, along with the owner Keshav Bansal will now be busy outlining tactics for the upcoming 2016 IPL Player Auction.
The Rajkot-based team signed five players during the IPL Draft in December, with Raina joined by Ravindra Jadeja, Brendon McCullum, James Faulkner and Dwayne Bravo. While all the five players are world class, they need to dive deep and search for some gems during the auction as well.
The Gujarat Lions are in serious need of some batsman and bowlers as they have already signed three quality all-rounders in the form of Faulkner, Bravo and Jadeja. With an array of batsmen in the 2016 IPL Player Auction such as Yuvraj Singh, Kevn Pietersen, Martin Guptill and others, the team management needs to spend the money wisely.
The Lions have a decent purse – Rs 27 crore – in their kitty, which they can use during the auction. However, they need to be careful and spend the money in the right manner as they not only need to buy quality, but also quantity, considering they only five in the squad at the moment. Hence, they cannot afford to spend a mammoth amount on a single player and as a result miss out on other players.
Bansal, when asked about the team's strategy for the IPL auction, as expected, did not give names, but stated the Gujarat Lions will bid for some youngsters as well as a few marquee names.
"Do you want me to unveil our strategy and which players to buy? As I said on stage, the idea is to have a balance team. We've got some experienced players like McCullum, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, James Faulkner and will definitely keep an eye on youngsters. There are some big cricketing names on the auction list and we'll be eyeing some of them," Bansal told The Times of India in an interview.
In Raina and McCullum, the Lions have some experience in the T20 format and these players, who have been successful in the shortest format, are expected to play a leading role in the ninth edition of the IPL.
Bansal also believes Hodge will provide the right direction for the Gujarat Lions.
"There were several options for the coach's role but when I interacted with Hodge, I could see the passion and his fundamentals being completely right. As a cricketer and as a coach, there are two different responsibilities. As a coach you have to mentor and keep the team together, especially in the tough times. I saw that leadership trait in Hodge during the presentation he gave me," Bansal said.