Young India opener Shubman Gill has "smart cricketing brain" and can emerge as leader of the Gujarat Titans in the future due to his conduct and work ethics, said the IPL team's director of cricket Vikram Solanki on Thursday. (More Cricket News)
Gill has become an integral part of the Indian side over the last six months or so given his all-round performances which includes a double century against New Zealand in ODIs. He also had a successful outing with the Gujarat Titans in their title-winning campaign last year.
While Pandya is set to continue as GT skipper in their second IPL season, Gill is also being seen as a leader within the core group.
"Shubman is a leader in his own right for the simple fact that he takes on a lot of responsibility. In my mind, it is not important that you play with an asterisk next to a player’s name," Solanki told reporters during a virtual media session on Thursday.
"Shubman adapted the leadership role last year, by his conduct, by the way he goes about, with his professional attitude towards the game."
The right-handed batter finished just four runs behind Gujarat Titans captain Hardik Pandya in the list of highest run-getters, smacking 432 runs in 16 matches at 132.32 with four fifties.
"Do I think that Shubman will be a leader in the future? Yes absolutely, but no decision has been made about that as yet. He has leadership qualities and is very mature who has an abundant amount of talent," Solanki said.
"He has a very smart cricketing brain and we will continue to have conversations with Shubman and invite his opinion on every decision we make."
Gujarat Titans will open their campaign against four-time title winners Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on March 31.
According to the new IPL playing conditions issued by BCCI, "Each captain shall nominate 11 players plus a maximum of 5 substitute fielders in writing to the IPL Match Referee after the toss."
This effectively means that after the toss, if a skipper feels that he needs to change his eleven as per demands of the situation, he is free to do that till the match starts.
Solanki, the former England international, said the new rule will change dynamics of the IPL.
"We will just have to wait and see. It is going to be an interesting change to the dynamics, it might bring (forth) some tactical decisions to be made.
"But essentially the way we are looking at it at the moment is that you can name your eleven or a bigger squad of 15 after the toss and that has a different bearing on it.
"Initially we are starting to have discussions around it but it will bring an interesting dynamic to the IPL this year. It will be interesting to see how different teams adapt to the rule."
Solanki said there are no injury concerns in the Gujarat Titans squad with star batter David Miller being the last player to join the squad.
Miller will miss the opening game against Chennai Super Kings due to national commitments.
"In terms of preparations, all teams are on the same page. We are setting out to give ourselves the best opportunity of giving a good account of ourselves. Chennai will be no different, we are no different. Chennai will be in equal amounts of pressure as us in that first game."
With India hosting the ODI World Cup in October-November, workload management of the key national players will be important.
Mohammad Shami is one such player, who is coming into the IPL after playing three Tests and as many ODIs against Australia and Solanki said that the franchise will monitor the India pacer.
"He was quite outstanding for us last year. You just have to wait and see what the situation is, we have to be respectful of the fact that fast bowling is a very demanding job," Solanki said.
"He is coming off a lot of cricket, we got to make sure we do the best for Mohammad Shami so that he can, in turn, do the best for Gujarat Titans. He will be one of those players we will monitor carefully with every preparation, every resource so that he is in best possible place for every game."