Updated March 27th, 2024 at 15:45 IST

'We are missing him': Mohit Sharma thinks Gujarat Titans 'can't replace' India star in IPL 2024

Gujarat Titans were dealt twin blows before IPL as Hardik Pandya joined Mumbai Indians while Mohammad Shami suffered an injury that ruled him out of IPL 2024.

Mohit Sharma with Shubman Gill | Image:BCCI/IPL
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Gujarat Titans were dealt twin blows ahead of Indian Premier League 2024. GT captain Hardik Pandya decided to the franchise and join Mumbai Indians while star pacer Mohammad Shami suffered an injury which ruled him out of IPL 2024. With the absence of two huge stars of the team, GT seems to be struggling a little. Gujarat Titans succumbed to a massive 63-run defeat at the hands of reigning IPL champions Chennai Super Kings on Tuesday. 

CSK posted a massive total of 206 runs, with openers Ruturaj Gaikwad (36) and Rachin Ravindra (46) being the stars alongside Shivam Dube (51). GT bowlers took a lot of beating with Umesh Yadav going for 27 in two overs, while the crafty Afghanistan ace spinner Rashid Khan went for 49 in four overs although he took a couple of wickets.

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GT vs CSK: Gujarat Titans miss Shami

GT bowler Mohit Sharma conceded Gujarat found it hard to replace a bowler of the calibre of Mohammed Shami. Shami is sitting out of the IPL as he is recuperating from an ankle surgery. He is expected to make his comeback with the home Test series against Bangladesh later this year after missing the five-Test series against England. Shami will also miss the T20 World Cup to be jointly hosted by the West Indies and the USA in June.

"Any team is bound to miss a bowler like Shami, and you can't replace him with anyone. But injuries are uncontrollable, and you must see how to move ahead with it," said Sharma, who played for CSK between 2013 and 2015 and has been with the Titans since 2022, during the post-match press conference.

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"As for GT, it's the first year for Spencer (Johnson) and Azmatullah (Omarzai). They haven't played much cricket yet. Therefore, we must be patient with them and not become too result-oriented.

"We must not bother about the runs leaked or the result of the contest, but how successful we are with our plans and how we are working on it backstage. These things would come in handy in the second half (of the event)," opined Sharma.

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We failed to execute our plans: Mohit

Sharma added that CSK milking runs in powerplay also contributed to the big loss.

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"Not much of a difference (in CSK's strategy). It used to be the same when I used to play for CSK, and we usually tried to get the maximum out of the powerplay overs," he said.

CSK were 69 for 1 after powerplay overs.

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"We knew it was going to be a similar scenario, especially with Rachin (Ravindra's) batting of late. However, we failed to execute our plans properly and also failed to judge the width and length during our bowling.

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"We failed in executing our plans properly. We began to bowl the slower ones too early and too wide off the off stump, leading to them scoring freely. It happens that the plans always don't get executed properly every time.

"But it's a big tournament, and we have ample time to go back to the drawing board, rectify our mistakes and start afresh.

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"We had a target of 200 as the par score on this wicket, and CSK played just the way we had thought. They were on course for 225-230 before settling for 206, but since we failed to implement our plans, we believed we gave away 15-20 runs extra." Sharma also defended the visitors' decision to bowl first, stating that dew is always a factor in night games, though, interestingly, there was hardly any dew on Tuesday night.

"Don't think the pitch has a role to play. Generally, if we win the toss and decide to bowl, it's because we know that the dew might play a factor later during the game.

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"But, there was no dew (Tuesday). As usual, we decided to bowl and restrict them to a par total, while dew would have been an added positive for us.

"Had the wicket been drier, CSK would have moved in with two spinners. But, had the (GT) pacers bowled in the right areas, it would have been tough for them to hit," he considered.

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'Won't say we failed to score runs, but credit to CSK bowlers' 

Despite the 63-run loss, Mohit refused to blame the batters for the poor show. CSK bowlers implemented their plan to perfection to restrict GT to 143/8 with Sai Sudharsan (37) being GT's top scorer.

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"I won't say we failed to score runs, but credit to the CSK bowlers for bowling brilliantly. Deepak (Chahar) started well, and at the end of the day, it all boils down to the number of variations you possess and when and how to use them.

"Don't think it was a pressure scenario for us. The wicket was good, and 200 was a gettable total here.

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"But the wickets that we lost initially, leading to lack of partnerships, followed by CSK bowlers bowling the right length, led to our inability to up the run rate, and we began lagging in every over," he signed off. 

(with PTI inputs)

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Published March 27th, 2024 at 15:45 IST