Kolkata: Gujarat Titans’ left-arm spinner Sai Kishore has defined Hardik Pandya’s captaincy in just one word: Simple. The 25-year-old, who was bought by the Titans for Rs three crore after a fierce bidding war from several franchises in the IPL 2022 mega auction, has said that Pandya carries himself with a lot of confidence, which rubs off on fellow cricketers, and is the reason for the newcomer’s superb performance this season.
Gujarat Titans are top of the table with 20 points and will take on Rajasthan Royals at the Eden Gardens here in Qualifier 1 on Tuesday. The team won 10 of the 14 league games, an incredible feat for a side that was not given much of a chance after the mega auction.
Kishore said, Pandya had a “very strong personality” and never imposes his will on the players.
“Hardik to me has been pretty simple. The last game he came to me and said, ‘Left-hander is batting, do you want me to tell you anything, or you know?’ I said, ‘I know, I’ll take care’. I find Hardik as a very strong personality. He carries himself with a lot of confidence, and has confidence in his players as well. Not trying to impose himself on all the players. Give them their space, their freedom and ‘you express yourselves. If something goes wrong, I’ll be there’. That’s how I’ve seen Hardik,” Kishore said on gujarattitansipl.com.
The 25-year-old Kishore, who has impressed with the limited exposure he has got this season, added that head coach Ashish Nehra and Pandya forge a strong bond because of which everyone in the team feels “secure”.
“It’s been amazing being here, with Ashu pa and Hardik. Ashu pa has made sure that everybody feels so secure in this team. Even when I was playing the 12th game of the season, I still felt like I need to contribute something for the team. Didn’t feel like I’ve been left out or something like that. We’ve all felt so secure and a lot of credit needs to be given to the both of them making the environment like that.
Kishore added that if a captain imposes his will on players, the natural instinct goes for a toss, but in the Gujarat Titans’ setup, it’s always fun to play as the skipper is always backing his teammates.
“I’ve always loved the kinds of captains who give the responsibility to the player, rather than just imposing always. Then your instincts just get cut off. Credit to captains like that, always fun to play like that.”
He also said that contrary to reports that the Titans had a meticulous bowling plan before every game, there was no such elaborate meeting as everyone knew his role well.
“Honestly, there has not been ‘planning’ planning as such. We just sit together and discuss for half an hour, 40 minutes, what is the devised plan. The good thing about the team is, we have proper bowlers. We don’t have half-bowlers, half-batters. Whoever has played, they knew their roles, proper. It’s like five professionals handling their work, so the results have come. You don’t need to sit down and coach them in general. It’s five professional players showing up and doing their skillsets to the best they can.
“Definitely, Ashu pa (Ashish Nehra) being a fast bowler himself, he’s someone who reads the game very well. He has kept it pretty simple, like ‘this guy is a compulsive puller’, ‘this guy is good square of the wicket’, ‘this guy is good when it’s pitched up, let’s not give it up’. It’s been simple, but clear plans to execute. With Ashu pa also being a bowler, it has helped us so much. It has made the job very easy,” added the spinner.