IPL 2023: Gary Kirsten Admits Defending Totals A Worry, Says Need To Find Right Bowler For The Job

The Gujarat Giants, the reigning champions, have had trouble defending totals this season, and head coach Gary Kirsten has attributed it to an unsteady bowling lineup.

IPL 2023: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Gujarat Titans

Defending champions Gujarat Giants have been struggling to defend totals this season and team's mentor Gary Kirsten has blamed it on an unsettled bowling line up. (More Cricket News)

In the five games played so far, GT won three and the two defeat have come while defending totals.

"In the last IPL we defended four and chased down six games. This year we haven't defended a total yet but it is early days in the tournament. Last year we had a settled bowling line up. This year due to injuries and guys who we bank on in crucial overs, aren't necessarily ready to go," Kirsten said during a virtual press conference.

GT are probably missing New Zealand pacer Lockie Ferguson, who they have traded to Kolkata Knight Riders.

"Every team needs to adapt to different situations you are confronted with and for us it's an opportunity to look at that area and potentially reset and make sure we have the right guys to do the job," he added.

The South African was in awe of Shubman Gill, who has been instrumental in providing good starts to GT. The young batter is the leading scorer for his team with 228 runs from five games, averaging nearly 46.

"He (Gill) has developed more into a class player. One could see that with his run of form with the Indian team across formats. We always knew he was going to be a class player. The next level for Shubman is how he can take what he has got in his skills and how he can create real impact on a game," Kirsten said.

"He has done a great job for us at the top. He is on a upward curve of progress. He has good thinking and opinion about how he can have the success he is looking for. It's great to see him do well."

The two other players to have grabbed Kirsten's attention this season are all-rounder Vijay Shankar and veteran pacer Mohit Sharma.

"Time might not be on their side but the experience is and that certainly helps a lot in IPL. Vijay battled a bit last season. He wanted to comeback and prove that he was a player to be reckon with.

"He got himself into great physical condition and his training and work ethic at the nets has been second to none," said Kirsten, who is also team's batting coach.

"For me Mohit has really been an inspiration. He was part of last IPL essentially as a net bowler. For someone of his age to do that I think is remarkable. He is an incredible professional, puts a lot of time into his game. He has done really well in the last two games."

In the three matches he played so far, Shankar has scored 119 runs at an average of 59.50, while Mohit has picked up two wickets from as many games at an impressive economy rate of 4.16.

Asked about Kane Williamson, who suffered a ruptured Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in right knee in his first match for GT and was subsequently ruled out of the event, Kirsten said: "Kane Williamson's absence will be definitely felt. He is a great player."

"He would have fitted really well into our team environment and what we stand for as a group. He will be missed. He is an experienced player and would have played an important role for us as a leader and as top-end batter."

Having said that Kirsten feels Williamson's injury came as a blessing in disguise for a young player like Sai Sudharsan, who has scored 176 runs from five games.

"That said it provides a great opportunity someone else to fill in that role and Sai Sudharsan has done a great job so far," he said.

"The fact that we retained him is a testament to the fact that he has massive potential. This year we wanted to go to the next step with him which is to give him more game time. The set of skills which he has is great, mentally he manages himself really well."

Kirsten played it safe when asked whether GT got any diktat from the BCCI or NCA on pacer Mohammed Shami's workload management.

"Not that I know. I am not necessarily involved at that level," he said.

Enquired about Shivam Mavi, who fetched Rs 6 crore contract from GT in the IPL auction earlier this year, Kirsten said he will get his chance in the coming games.

"He (Mavi) is available for selection. He is working really hard on his game in training. At any point he can be picked. Selection is largely around the types of skills an individual has that suits the conditions and opposition you are playing against."

GT will play Lucknow Super Giants in Lucknow on Saturday.