Kotak: Gujarat Lions’ team more balanced this year

The assistance coach said, “We have more options, particularly in the bowling department, which we didn’t have last time.”

Sitanshu Kotak... “We have options in every department and can choose the eleven according to the conditions.”   -  Vivek Bendre

Gujarat Lion’s team for the upcoming Indian Premier League season possesses more balance than last year, its assistant coach Sitanshu Kotak has said.

“I think we have a [better] balanced side as compared to our last year’s squad,” Kotak, who is in charge of Gujarat Lions’ practice session until the arrival of head coach Brad Hodge, said. “We have more options, particularly in the bowling department, which we didn’t have last time and had to depend on couple of bowlers,” he said.

“Our bowling was a bit weak last year and we had to depend on a couple of seam bowlers throughout the season because of not having [many] options. But this time, the inclusion of two experienced bowlers like Munaf Patel and Manpreet Gony and two young bowlers - Basil Thampi and Nathu Singh - has put us in a position to change the bowling combination as per the conditions,” he said.

According to Kotak, the team has plenty of options, particularly in the batting department, as it has openers like Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith, Jason Roy and Aaron Finch. “Who will open will be decided by the team management once the head coach Brad Hodge joins the team, but we have a very strong batting line-up. Suresh Raina has always been a good and top-ranked batsman in the shortest format of the game,” he said.

Dinesh Karthik is in good form, scoring century in Deodhar trophy final, while Ravindra Jadeja, too, is in good form and useful in all the three departments, Kotak said. “In the spin bowling department, we have two leg spinners - Tejas Barokha and Subham Agarwal. So I think overall we have options in every department and can choose the eleven according to the conditions,” he said.

Gujarat Lions will play its first match against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on April 7. Lions had won its two matches against KKR last time and Kotak felt that last year’s performance will help the team have the upper hand while playing against KKR.