Why I love Gujarat Titans?

But because there is a system in place and the entire contingent of the Gujarat Titans is religiously following it they won the IPL last year and this year they are playing the final.

Love for Gujarat Titans or GT
Gujarat Titans taking the field (Photo Courtesy: Sports Mint Media)

I am writing this blog on the morning of the IPL 2023 finals to be played at the huge Narendra Modi stadium in Ahmedabad. Just like last year the Gujarat Titans will again feature in this final and this time it will be four-time champions the Chennai Super Kings will give them the fight. But this blog is not a preview of that game, but it is to show pure love towards the Gujarat Titans (GT) the team I am supporting since its inception last year. I got plenty of reasons to love this team not because it has won the first season and now playing for the title again this evening.

When there was a talk about IPL is going to include two more franchises a year or two back, I already was crossing my fingers. The reason behind this was that I always felt that my city was deprived of having an IPL team not once but twice. Actually, for the second time, Ahmedabad got robbed of having an IPL team. First time in 2009 when new franchises were sold Ahmedabad looked like one of the front runners to get a team and Anil Ambani was also one of the bidders. But, despite being the 7th largest city in India, Ahmedabad somehow couldn’t get the team, but smaller cities like Jaipur and Chandigarh got their teams.

Then two years later when IPL decided to expand the base again Ahmedabad didn’t get the team and I felt that this time we got robbed as Kochi and Pune got the franchises. Kochi getting the IPL team was under the scanner right from day one and after a year’s participation both those franchises were kicked out from IPL, poetic justice you see? Then during those two years when Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals were suspended for being the party of spot-fixing two temporary franchises were added.

This time Rajkot and Pune got the chance to play in the IPL for two years. Again, there was no Ahmedabad but because it was Rajkot and being my native for last many generations I supported it with full heart. But after those two years again there were no signs of Ahmedabad getting an IPL team. But in 2021 BCCI decided to expand IPL again and this time I got my wish fulfilled, although with too many uncertainties.

During the initial three years of the IPL, I supported Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals equally because two of my favorite cricketers Sourav Ganguly ‘Dada’ and Shane Warne were captaining the teams. But from the fourth year onwards, especially after the inclusion of Kochi and Pune, I became neutral and decided that until my city Ahmedabad gets an IPL team I will remain neutral and just enjoy the tournament.

The reasons why I love GT

I will be very honest after GT chose the team in the mega auction of 2022, I was not happy with it, but I was very satisfied with the selection of Hardik Pandya, Shubhman Gill, and Rashid Khan at the draft. I wasn’t aware who is Sai Sudharshan or Darshan Nalkande or Sai Kishore. I was also a bit skeptical about the selections of David Millar, Rahul Tewatia, and Vijay Shankar as well because they were not in form at that time. But at the same time, I decided no matter what my support for the Gujarat Titans will be genuine, unconditional, blind, and forever no matter how they perform during the IPL.

But then as it has now become a cliché that during every game last year a new player would raise his hand and say that I will take the team home. Slowly I realized that the coach Ashish Nehra has done very hard homework in choosing those hidden gems of Indian cricket. Although I must admit that despite having decided that my support for GT will be unconditional, my actual love towards it started after Tewatia scored those two sixes on the last two balls of Odeon Smith against Punjab Kings and got cemented after Rashid Khan and Rahul Tewatia (again) took the team home against Sun Risers Hyderabad at the Wankhede needing some 24 runs in the last over.

I started to feel that no matter what the combination of the team is everyone is ready to give his 100% to make sure that they win. Till the last ball, they don’t give up and that is why they became one of the most successful ‘chasers’ of the IPL. Hardik Pandya’s cool head while captaining was another reason why this team did well last year and even better this year. Nehra ji is worth many accolades but I am short of words, to be honest.

This year the Gujarat Titans are publishing their podcast called ‘GT meets GK’, hosted by Gaurav Kapoor (GK). I have watched all the episodes published to date and the more I watch them more I fell in love with GT and the team culture they have built. Be it Nehra ji, Hardik Pandya, Vikram Solanki, Rahul Tewatia, David Millar, or Rashid Khan every one of them has said that there is no pressure in the team. They follow the system created for them and believe that the results will then take care of themselves.

This sounds very easy but very difficult to implement but if you have observed the GT dugout during the tense situations in any match you will believe in what I have just mentioned. They always looked relaxed and even joked with each other, unlike their fans who are biting their nails. If you want to know more about Gujarat Titans team culture then I would highly recommend watching their GT meets GK podcasts available on GT’s YouTube channel.

Because I have been following the team closely (in a way) I laugh at those who say that the first-ever season win for the Gujarat Titans was a fluke. There is nothing like a fluke when someone achieves success. Yes, luck does play a good part in any success but ultimately it is the thinking, strategy, and hard work that bring success. Because GT became the only team after RR that won its debut season doesn’t mean that it was easy, in fact for GT it was even more difficult than RR because all other teams apart from the Lucknow Super Giants were playing IPL for the last 15 years and they were aware of ins and outs of the IPL.

But because there is a system in place and the entire contingent of the Gujarat Titans is religiously following it they won the IPL last year and this year they are playing the final. Their ruthless approach towards the game and the spirit of fight till the end have given them success in many hopeless matches during the last season and even this season as well. Plus, GT players’ humble attitude on the ground also makes them the lovable team not only to their supporters like me but also to the supporters of the opposition team as well. I have never seen any GT player having useless arguments with umpires or opposition players.

So these are the reasons why I love Gujarat Titans but I have something to say to my fellow GT fans as well.

A message to Gujarat Titans fans

As I just mentioned that GT players always remain humble on the field so we the fans should follow their attitude off the field and on social media as well. We witness ugly fights, abuses, and mocking by those team supporters (not all but many) who are playing the IPL since its inception but that only reduces the image of those teams and their players. We the GT fans must not follow that path and should remain humble all the way.

Our team won the first-ever season and is in the final in its second, but this will not happen each season. Like we lost a few games in both seasons we may not even be able to qualify in some of the future seasons or we may even remain at the bottom of the table as well. But when it comes to support it should remain forever. Just because your team is winning or doing well you are supporting it and when it is not you start blaming, abusing, and mocking our team’s players it shows that you are not supporting the team from the heart.

The team needs strong support when it is not doing well or losing. So unlike those IPL teams fans that go ga-ga when their teams are in the playoffs or winning the trophy, we should remain with the team in every situation. Yes, fair, honest, and healthy criticism should always be there and the team will also take it positively but mocking or making fun of our team is unfair to those who gave us few of the happiest moments in their first-ever season itself.

I am sure that we the Gujarat Titans fans will show the difference to the rest of the IPL team fans and will remain humble and happy just like our team, its players, its management, and its support staff.

That’s all from me today. Till we meet next time it’s Aavjo from my side.

28th May 2023, Sunday




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