Gujarat Titans made their debut in IPL auctions and went on to buy 20 players spending a total of Rs 89.85 crore.
Gujarat team had former India pace bowler Ashish Nehra as their Head Coach, former South Africa cricketer and former India coach Gary Kirsten as their Batting Coach, former England opener Vikram Solanki as their Director of Cricket and Aashish Kapoor as their spin bowling coach at the auction table and they went on to bid aggressively for players like Rahul Tewatia (9 Crore), Mohammed Shami (6.25 Crore) and Lockie Ferguson (10 crore).
"It is not my first auction because I have been with Delhi Daredevils in the very first year I picked the side and I still cherish the side that we had picked in the very first season where we had AB, Dilshan, Sehwag, Gambhir, Shikhar Dhawan and so on. This time we went aggressively for Tewatia because if you see the Indian batters then most of the sides the eight sides have retained most of the Indian batters. So, you had very few options of the side who could have played in the middle order and playing in the middle order is not a very easy thing. Be it an Indian batter or a foreign batter. There are very few of them. If you see any batter, Indian batter even though he is a Ranji Trophy player say, Rahul Tripathi, he has gone for 9 crores, Shahrukh Khan he has gone for 8-9 crore, Manish Pandey who is not very young now but he is playing Ranji Trophy he has gone for about 5 crores. So, there was no batter who was going for less than 5-6 crore in any case. As you said about the exploits of Tewatia, Tewatia is not just a batter he can bowl you those four overs of spin which is very crucial. You can play one spinner less on a good wicket if you want to play an extra batter with Tewatia around. So, that was the extra option that Tewatia gives compared to the other batter. We did go for Shahrukh Khan and we did go for other batter but it was impossible to get because they were going for 8-9 and Tewatia was cheaper compared to them doing two jobs. He is a multi-dimensional player. So, that's the reason why we had to go aggressively because he was the last of those Indian batters we felt actually that we had to get." said Gujarat Titans spin bowling coach Aashish Kapoor to ANI.
The pacers Mohammed Shami and Lockie Ferguson were at the base price of Rs 2 Crore but the Gujarat Titans team management went up to Rs 6.25 Crore and Rs 10 Crore to buy them in order to bolster their pace attack in the powerplay overs as well as death overs.
"Shami and Lockie can form a lethal bowling combination. With the new ball they can form a lethal attack but what Lockie gives us is that he can bowl in the death overs. We need those bowlers who can bowl in the death, those two-three overs for us, two overs atleast. So, Lockie has done that on a consistent basis in the IPL. So, there are not many bowlers in this world who are good in death over bowling and he is one of them and I think we got him pretty cheap as compared to what rates the pace bowlers got in this auction 14.5, 15, 10 and 7. Uncapped Indian pacers are going about seven and a half crore. So, actually, it is a steal that you got 10 for Lockie Ferguson. He is a tried and tested bowler who can bowl upfront and in the death. There are some bowlers who are good up front, there are some bowlers who are good in the middle over and there are some bowlers who are good towards the death but he is good in both positions. So, he is like an all-rounder in the bowling department for us and after that, you have Rashid Khan the world's number one spinner at the moment. So, we have a lethal bowling attack." explained Spin Bowling Coach Aashish Kapoor to ANI.
Gujarat Titans were eyeing Liam Livingstone but he ultimately went to Punjab Kings for a staggering Rs 11.50 Crore and in the latter part of the bidding for the players who went unsold in their initial bids were also bought by Gujarat in the form of Matthew Wade, Wriddhiman Saha and Varun Aaron.
"Everybody does that in the accelerated auction. In an accelerated auction, you need to keep 8 to 10 Crore and we had about 14. I think the second highest people with the purse when that accelerated auction started. So, with 14 there was not a great chance for others teams. Some of the teams were almost finished but other teams were at a midway there at about 6 Crore or 7 Crore. So, we knew that if we bid for 6 Crore or 7 Crore at that point of time aggressively then they are not going to stand a chance. They might go up to 2 Crore or 3 Crore and let go because they might have to pick a few other players and not everybody had got to the minimum qualification of 18 members that you have to form a squad with. Everybody was on 13, 14, 15, 16. So, they still had to buy some players and we knew that we would get some new players towards the end. Yes, one of the players that we wanted was Livingstone and we knew that he was going to go for a high price. We had 10 Crore for him that we would buy him for 10 Crore. He went past that and that is why we had to let him go and that is why we had two strategies whether we go with Livingstone or we go with an Indian wicket-keeper and if we don't get Livingstone then we go with Wade a foreign wicket-keeper who can open for us probably." told Ashish Kapoor to ANI.
The Gujarat Titans management is happy that they have built a strong core and they have covered all the bases they needed to.
"I think we have all the bases covered because that is one thing we tried to do we tried to build an all-around side. Sai Kishore has just got into the Indian team. He did not play for India but he was part of the squad. He is a young Indian kid anyways now. He should be playing for the country very soon. So, he is one of your spinners, your left arm spinners, you have Jayant Yadav who has played for the country he is an off-spinner who can bat as well then you have Vijay Shankar who has played World Cup for India. He could be your top-order batter who can also bowl a bit of medium pace. You have Tewatia who bowls leg-spin and bats. So, you have so many options around your batting and bowling and your bowlers are actually genuine bowlers we picked up another young quick arm young quick bowler from UP at three crores. He has been the net bowler for India for the last six months and I won't be surprised if he plays for the country in the next six months. He is that good. So, he could be our third medium-pacer in the eleven ahead of Varun Aaron. Varun Aaron could be the backup for Shami or someone else. So, we have a young talent from Vidarbha Nalkande, not many people would have seen him he is a good medium pacer and also can bat decently. So, I think that the junior cricketers that we have picked and then we got the Punjab batter who bats and played for India as a middle-order. We also have Arvind Sarangpani from Karnataka who is a very exciting talent batting at number five, six or four wherever in the middle order. So, we have young guys. You know there are times like a Padikkal when they picked him he was unknown so in two years time he has become what he is. So, these are the young guys we have put faith in that would probably become big in another one or two years and I think when we had about 16 players in the team 13 of them were international cricketers. So, that is a big thing we have in our squad where you have lots of international cricketers with some experience." told Aashish Kapoor to ANI.
Captain Hardik Pandya was not on the auction table but according to Aashish Kapoor he was in touch with Head Coach Ashish Nehra to give his inputs for the auction.
"The guy who was in touch with Hardik Pandya was the head coach Ashish Nehra. So, he has been talking to him. We don't want too many people talking to him and getting too many things. Different people getting different advice. So, he was the one lone person who was talking to him and taking his inputs. " told Aashish Kapoor.