Gujarat Giants has a task on its hands to try and fit its latest import, South African Laura Wolvaardt, into the playing XI.
The Adani Sportsline-owned franchise roped in Beth Mooney, Sophia Dunkley, Georgia Wareham, Annabel Sutherland and Deandra Dottin in the auction.
Dottin’s arrival in India fell through due to a medical clearance issue which still has not been sufficiently clarified by the franchise. Irish-Australian Kim Garth entered the fray as her replacement.
Wolvaardt, with a base price of INR 30 Lakh, found no takers initially. But now, she has been asked to step into Beth Mooney’s shoes in the batting lineup. However, will she make the playing XI in their next league fixture?
Only four overseas players (five, if you have an associate player, which Gujarat does not) can be fielded by a team in the Women’s Premier League. Wolvaardt’s inclusion has therefore become difficult with Dunkley finding form. Both are right handers with a good record up top.
However, the factor keeping Wolvaardt ‘s place in question is Gujarat’s bowling. The side has a rather lean pace attack, with Sutherland, Garth and Mansi Joshi handling seam bowling. Either Sutherland or Garth will have to make way for Wolvaardt to get a look in. In that case, the Indian options are restricted to Monica Patel. The Giants did field her in the XI for the first game against Mumbai Indians, but she conceded 34 runs in two overs.
HOW GUJARAT’S PACE DEPARTMENT HAS PERFORMED IN WPL 2023 (stats till GG vs RCB):
|PLAYER||MATCHES PLAYED||OVERS BOWLED||WICKETS TAKEN||RUNS CONCEDED||EXTRA CONCEDED|
|Mansi Joshi||3||5||2||41||1 wide vs MI|
|Monica Patel||1||2||0||34||2 wides vs MI|
|Annabel Sutherland||3||10.3||3||129||4 wides (2 each vs RCB and UPW)|
|Kim Garth||2||7||6||63||3 wides (2 vs UPW, 1 vs RCB), 1 no ball (vs UPW)|
The first game Gujarat plays after Wolvaardt’s arrival is against a potent and currently hurting Delhi batting lineup. But the game is being played at the DY Patil Stadium, where the last game saw some dryness in the pitch and plenty of assistance for the bowlers (spinners in particular).
Taking a page from UP Warriorz’s book, Gujarat can consider placing faith in its spinners and swapping out Sutherland for a spinner. The other option is to even hand an opportunity to one of the teens in the squad- Shabnam MD or Ashwani Kumari, for instance.
Delhi has had first-hand experience of bowling on the wicket here but was not able to exploit conditions the way Mumbai did. Lanning and Co. were kept subdued with a measured combination of pace and spin. If Gujarat can find some purchase in the wicket the way UPW did vs RCB, this contest might not be as one-sided as it looks on paper.
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