Gujarat-Lions-celebrate-fall-of-a-wicket5
Gujarat Lions’ Shivil Kaushik bowled a No Ball in the contest against Rising Pune Supergiants © IANS

We are halfway through the ninth edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) and the mighty Gujarat Lions (GL) are the table toppers with 12 points under their belt. In the 6 victories they have witnessed so far, they have encountered back-to-back last-ball finishes. Boasting of T20 stalwarts such as Suresh Raina, Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Bravo to name a few, GL are brimming with confidence and are in top contention to win this season of IPL extravaganza. However, there are few chinks in their armour that they need to take care of before they enter the Playoffs stage, as there will be no margin for error. More: James Faulkner flaunts his Gujarati skills in a funny video

In GL’s loss against Delhi Daredevils at Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA), left-armer Ravindra Jadeja managed to dismantle Sanju Samson’s defence but overstepped to give the opposition a Free Hit. Pointing at this mistake, according to the reports by Cricbuzz, GL coach Brad Hodge said, “There are quite a few areas of concerns. Firstly, you have to keep your foot behind the line, that’s twice in two games that has happened. It is unforgivable.”

GL wrestled back by taking 2 crucial wickets in quick succession. And Sanju Samson’s wicket would have put the hosts in the driver’s seat. “That was Game over. That is what happens in these competitions. If you’re going to let your guard down for a moment, you’re going to be found out. Hopefully, we can buzz ourselves off and adjust with the differences and indifferences that we have and come back again strongly. Hopefully, we can assess that tomorrow as we haven’t got a lot of turnaround (time). That is the tough thing about IPL. It’s more of a mental challenge with a skill base. These last two games hurt very much,” Hogg added. Read: KXIP skipper Murali Vijay terms Akshar Patel’s hat-trick against GL in IPL 2016 incredible

While GL’s away record has been immaculate, they have lost 3 out of 5 matches they played at their home ground. Hodge seems disappointed with the kind of pitch the SCA curators dished out. “The wicket was not ideal. This kind of surface is something that we were not looking for. It is disappointing. This is your home ground, you expect something better.”

However, he’s even more disappointed the way GL approached the chases. “We were chasing only 155 he other day against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and we couldn’t get the job done. We can’t blame any of the surface or the practice, our skill set was just not good enough on that day. We need to brush that off. We need to address it, step up and come again.”

It’s the GL top order that has been keeping the team on course. As witnessed in the last few matches, GL have been losing wickets in quick succession and they need to address it as soon as possible. “In the last match against KXIP, Akshar Patel took a hat-trick. Couple of balls didn’t even turn. We lost three wickets in an over. And, again against DD, we lost 3 wickets in 7 balls with three of our best batters getting dismissed. If you’re 3 for 20, losing three of your best batters upfront, you’re going to be in trouble. Same what happened in the last game.” Read: Eoin Morgan says sharing dressing room with Australians in IPL to not affect Ashes rivalry

This is Hodge’s first stint as a head coach. About his coaching approach, he concluded, “I’m calm and composed. Sometimes as a coach, you want to give an outburst, give a rocket. In times like these, it is not going to achieve a lot. This is a high-profile competition and these guys are high-profile sports people. You should hope that they know what is their wrong they are doing, where they are failing. For me to go jumping on the table, screaming is going to do no good. That is certainly not going to make them better with the bat or help them make better decisions.”