In one of, or probably the biggest pre-auction transfers of the IPL history, erstwhile Gujarat Titans (GT) captain Hardik Pandya made a move to his old franchise Mumbai Indians ahead of the 2024 edition. Pandya led Titans to finals in both the editions and title in the debut year in 2022 but expressed his desire to go back to where it all started for him in the IPL. The Titans had a few captaincy options with Kane Williamson retained and Rashid Khan who was the designated vice-captain but went with Shubman Gill.
Gill, who lit up IPL 2023 scoring 890 runs with the bat couldn't stop scoring runs as he was the primary reason why the Titans made a second consecutive final and the 24-year-old will now have pressure to replicate that with an added responsibility of captaincy. While many believe it was a good move from GT to get Gill into the role early since he was going to be their leader in the future, a few including former South Africa great AB de Villiers feel that it might be a touch early for the youngster.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, de Villiers said that Williamson would have been a better option and it would have helped Gill learn the ropes alongside the best in the business. "The minute I saw Kane Williamson's name as a retained player, I thought there was a fantastic opportunity to give an experienced player who has done it before an opportunity to captain for you. Give Shubman Gill the opportunity just to cement in all the formats in Indian cricket and just to have another good season at the IPL."
De Villiers further said that GT's decision could pay off but they could have waited one more season to see where he stands leadership-wise before handing him the reins but wished the best for him and the franchise. "They decided to throw him in as captain," he elaborated. "It may pay off; I am not saying it is wrong. I am saying that it was a great opportunity for Shubman just to learn a little bit and know that the plan is for him to be captain in 2025. Nonetheless, I am excited to watch him perform and lead from the front," he added.
Gill, on the other hand, said that it will sink in for him when the first game arrives in a few months' time and felt amazing to be named the captain of an IPL team, which is a dream for kids growing up who want to play the IPL.