Irfan Pathan selects the perfect candidate to replace Hardik Pandya at Gujarat Titans

Irfan Pathan selects the perfect candidate to replace Hardik Pandya at Gujarat Titans

Irfan Pathan named an Afghanistan all-rounder as a perfect fit for Gujarat Titans squad.

The IPL 2024 mini-auction, scheduled for December 19 in Dubai, is poised to be a pivotal event for all 10 franchises as they seek to finalize their squads from a pool of 1166 players. Ahead of this auction, the Gujarat Titans faced a significant challenge after trading Hardik Pandya, their captain for the past two years, to the Mumbai Indians during the IPL 2024 retentions.

This unprecedented transfer marked a major shift in the dynamics of the trade window, with Gujarat Titans also parting ways with eight players, including Shivam Mavi, Yash Dayal, Pradeep Sangwan, Alzarri Joseph, and Odean Smith.

Replacing a player of Hardik Pandya’s caliber is no easy task, but former Indian fast bowler Irfan Pathan suggests that recruiting Azmatullah Omarzai could address some of the void left by Pandya in the 2022 champions’ lineup. Speaking on Star Sports, Irfan Pathan emphasized that the Afghanistan all-rounder, who showcased his skills in the World Cup held in India, could seamlessly fill the role left vacant by Pandya.

‘Looking at the Gujarat Titans, they are missing out on Hardik Pandya. Obviously, they are missing out on a leader and a guy who can actually do both bat and ball equally well. Who is there at the auction table’? Irfan stated.

‘I see Azmatullah Omarzai going to Gujarat Titans because he is a perfect fit. We have Rashid Khan there as well, who can actually get the best out of his countryman. Apart from an all-rounder, they require a proper fast bowler there. They need to go for that extra pace, and they have a good purse available,’ he added.

Gujarat Titans, now led by Shubman Gill, face the challenge of shoring up their squad post Pandya’s departure. With a substantial purse of Rs 38.15 crore, the Titans are in a favorable position to acquire a maximum of eight players, with two spots reserved for overseas players.

Azmatullah Omarzai, having showcased his talent in the ODI World Cup 2023, emerged as a key player for Afghanistan. His standout performance, scoring an unbeaten 97 runs against South Africa at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, played a pivotal role in Afghanistan’s competitive total of 244 runs. Omarzai’s all-round contribution included 353 runs and 9 wickets in 9 matches, boasting an impressive strike rate of 95.9. His ability to find the boundaries, with 53 hits including 35 fours and 18 sixes, further underlines his effectiveness in the middle order.