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We see Ravindra Jadeja as our lead bowler, says Mohammad Kaif

Talking about his team balance and the players he has at his disposal, the former Indian cricketer was satisfied with the squad depth they have. He said that they lacked a bit of bowling depth in their first season but have now strengthened on that front as well.

Gujarat Lions’ Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo with Rising Pune Supergiants captain MS Dhoni. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

Gujarat Lions finished at the helm of the league last season after playing some fantastic cricket throughout the year and then failed to make it to the final despite having two chances. Mohammad Kaif, the assistant coach of the Rajkot-based Indian Premier League side believes that his side is complete and is led by a fantastic captain.

Kaif heaped praises on the Gujarat Lions captain Suresh Raina terming him as a gutsy and a big match player. “Suresh is a big match player and has the guts to steer his team to winning the game. It will be important for him to perform and score runs. Not for others but for his own satisfaction,” Kaif said while talking to the Indian Express.

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Kaif went on to stress on the attributes of Suresh Raina, he said, “A captain who is performing and leading from the front always helps in boosting team morale. Playing a tournament like the IPL always brings pressure on you. But he is a senior player, who has represented India for over a decade now, and won’t play under any pressure in any given situation.”

Talking about his team balance and the players he has at his disposal, the former Indian cricketer was satisfied with the squad depth they have. He said that they lacked a bit of bowling depth in their first season but have now strengthened on that front as well. The 36-year-old also emphasised on the importance of having more Indian players in the side.

“We have a mix of young and experience in our squad this season. And the kind of batting power we had last season, we needed to strengthen our bowling. The reason to have more of the Indian bowlers, as it can well be attributed to the fact that we can only have 4 foreign players in the playing XI, which gives less option to try new combinations,” explained Kaif.

Another superstar Gujarat Lion have is Ravindra Jadeja, the Saurashtra-lad has had a wonderful season for the Indian team and is in prime form. The hero of the Border-Gavaskar trophy might have been fatigued a bit must be itching to play in the IPL. Kaif was all praise for him as well.

He said, “What a terrific season he has had. We played together for Rajasthan Royal in 2008 and in these 10 years, he had ups and downs, but now has evolved as a key player in India. With the current form he is in, he will play a major role for the Lions this season. His contribution across all formats has been tremendous. During this season we can see him lead our bowling lineup.”

Dinesh Karthik will also play an important role in this side of Gujarat. He will be extremely important for them as he is a better keeper and an even better batsman. He has been in superb form lately scoring centuries in big games in domestic cricket. Karthik will prove to be very crucial in that middle order of the Lions.

Mohammad Kaif also thinks the same. He said, “Karthik is in great form. He has scored runs throughout the season, plus led his side (Tamil Nadu) to Vijay Hazare Trophy win, which shows he is in fine touch. It is always a good feeling to see him score big runs. With very satisfying season, he is to join us brimming with confidence.”

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