IPL 2023: “Calmness he brings into the team is reminiscent of MSD,” Gavaskar hails Hardik Pandya’s leadership skills

Hardik Pandya led Gujarat Titans to the IPL final for the second successive season.

Hardik Pandya and MS Dhoni | BCCI-IPLGujarat Titans (GT) on Friday (May 26) secured a place in the IPL 2023 final, with a thumping 62-run victory over Mumbai Indians (MI) in Qualifier 2 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

After winning the IPL title in their maiden appearance last season, GT dominated the league table this year as well, winning 10 out of their 14 games to finish at the top.

While the Titans lost to Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Qualifier 1, they bounced back to defeat MI in Qualifier 2 and seal a spot in the final.

After the game, batting legend Sunil Gavaskar heaped praise on GT skipper Hardik Pandya, saying that the calmness he brings into the team reminds him of the legendary MS Dhoni.

“He (Hardik) has been very open about his admiration and affection for MSD, just like all those who have followed MSD’s career. When they go out to the toss, they will be very friendly and smiling all that,” Gavaskar told Star Sports.

“But when it comes to the match, it will be a completely different atmosphere. It’s a very good opportunity from Hardik Pandya to show how quickly he has learned.

“When he was captaining for the first time last year, nobody knew what to expect because he has been one of the most exciting and excitable cricketer as well. But that excitable part, we have seen over the last year,” he added.

“The calmness that he brings into the team is reminiscent of MSD. This is a happy team, which is exactly what we see with CSK as well. Hardik has to take a lot of credit for that.”

The 73-year-old also credited head coach Ashish Nehra for Gujarat Titans’ enormous success.

“I would not want to miss Ashish Nehra. He is one person, when he is in the change room or the comm box, you cannot but be laughing. He makes life look so easy and he has got one of the sharpest cricketing brains,” Gavaskar remarked.

Gujarat Titans will face the Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2023 final at Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad on Sunday (May 28).

“They (GT) have always been a top-class team. Look at the way they have topped the table. They finished with 20 points, 3 more than Chennai Super Kings. It tells you how Gujarat Titans dominated in the league stages. It should not be a surprise that they reached the final. They have played champions cricket.

“And that’s why there are in the final. CSK know that they have a real, real fight in their hands,” Gavaskar said.

(With PTI Inputs)


By Salman Anjum - 27 May, 2023

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