Jason Roy in England's biggest buy this IPL © Getty Images
Jason Roy in England’s biggest buy this IPL © Getty Images

Gujarat Lions (GL) were perhaps the only team headed into the IPL 2017 auction with nothing in specific as a requirement, since they had all their bases covered. However, they did add a hard-hitting English opener, an almost-forgotten Indian pacer and a promising UAE batsman who will now be their first-ever cricketer to play in IPL. Despite releasing several players from their side which included the injured Dale Steyn, Gujarat looked a formidable unit which eyed a few more critical additions to their firepower in the IPL 10 auction. With the addition of Jason Roy and Munaf Patel among a few Indian domestic cricketers, Gujarat Lions (GL) prepare for a journey wherein they aim to travel farther than what they did in IPL 2016. ALSO READ – IPL 2017 Auction: Full list of players unsold for Indian Premier League 10

It would have been a shame had Roy, like several of his England teammates, gone unnoticed in the IPL 2017 auction. But Gujarat have avoided that, and added a terrific batsman who is set to create selection issues for the Suresh Raina-captained team. Roy’s selection in the IPL had turned into a certainty the moment he carried England into the final of the ICC World T20 2016 last year, a case which he consolidated with three half-centuries in the ODI series against India last month. He was their only overseas as well as the best purchase that Gujarat Lions (GL) made in the IPL 2017 auction. ALSO READ – IPL 2017 Auction: Complete list of sold players with price, Indian Premier League 10

Gujarat Lions have added as many as 11 players to their side ahead of IPL 2017. While 10 are new players, Gujarat Lions interestingly repurchased domestic all-rounder Akshdeep Nath. He was bought by Gujarat Lions last year in IPL 2016 for INR 10 lakhs, but was released ahead of this year’s addition. However, Gujarat decided to go ahead with him for IPL 2017 as well, buying him for a similar price tag.

Apart from Roy, Munaf and Akshdeep, the Gujarat Lions have also added fast bowler Basil Thampi, Indian cricketer Manpreet Gony, Shubam Agarwal, Tejas Singh Baroka, Chirag Suri (UAE), Pratham Singh and Shelley Shaurya to their side in the IPL 2017 auction. Earlier, they had released Paras Dogra, Eklavya Dwivedi, Sarbjeet Ladda, Amit Mishra (seamer), Umang Sharma and Akshdeep Nath — who has been retained. Veteran spinner Pravin Tambe was also among those who were released.

It is clear that Gujarat Lions have looked to add firepower across all departments. In Roy, they have added more firepower to their top order, which consists the likes of Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch and Dwayne Smith already. In Chirag Suri, the Gujarat Lions (GL) have added a batsman from UAE, who has been in great form as well.

Interestingly, according to reports, Suri was approached by an IPL franchise who asked him to file for registration. “An IPL team contacted me about two months back and they wanted me to register for the auction. It was actually a surprise. I was in good form over the past few months. I played well against England Lions, had a strong domestic season and I even did well in a tournament in Sri Lanka which had a few of their Test players,” he was quoted as saying by Times of India.

According to The National, Brad Hodge was particularly impressed with Suri as the two had practised together during the Masters Champions League (MCL) in Dubai last year. Suri, has thus become the first UAE cricketer to get an opportunity to play in the IPL.

In Thampi, the Gujarat Lions have added a fast bowler whose domestic numbers not only promise measly spells but he can also clock 140 kmph on a consistent basis. The inclination of IPL teams towards fast bowlers is not news anymore.

Munaf played his last international match in 2011. But he is back after persisting on with his chances in domestic circuit. His last noticeable performance came against Tamil Nadu, wherein he claimed 4 for 91. The addition of Shaurya — a right-arm fast bowler — is yet another proof that pacers have been a hot property this IPL 2017 auction. Playing for the Delhi Under-23 in the CK Nayudu Trophy 2016-17 Elite Group B match, Baroka had claimed 5 for 33 off his 12.2 overs in the first innings against Railways. To his credit, Gony took 11 wickets in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

It remains to be seen after all how many chances to do the new additions will get, since those who were released ahead of the IPL 10 auction got only a few games to showcase their worth. Anyway, Gujarat Lions’ squad looks perfectly balanced with an explosive top-order, aggressive batsmen in the middle such as Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik, and finishers in Ravindra Jadeja and James Faulkner.

The table-toppers of IPL 2016 had crashed out miserably in the business end, losing both their matches in the Playoffs. With a shot in their arm, Gujarat Lions will want to do even better in what could be their final IPL tournament.

Squad: Suresh Raina (c), Ravindra Jadeja, James Faulkner, Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Bravo, Aaron Finch, Dwayne Smith, Dinesh Karthik, Dhawal Kulkarni, Praveen Kumar, Andrew  Tye, Ishan Kishan, Pradeep Sangwan, Shivil Kaushik, Shadab Jakati, Jaydev Shah. Jason Roy, Basil Thampy, Manpreet Gony, Shubam Agarwal, Tejas Singh Baroka, Chirag Suri, Pratham Singh, Shelley Shaurya.