By Vipul Kashyap
New Delhi [India], May 30 (ANI): Former India cricketer and selector Sarandeep Singh hailed Gujarat Titans skipper Hardik Pandya for leading his team to an emphatic seven-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals in the final, adding that Gujarat lad led from the front and performed with both bat and ball scoring 487 runs in 15 innings and taking eight wickets in 15 matches.
"The way Hardik Pandya has captained the team it is not easy when you have not played cricket for a long time. He was facing all the allegations but the way he has made a comeback was amazing. He came back to form and managed his team very well. The credit goes to the entire team the way Mohammed Shami bowled, Rashid Khan bowled throughout the season. Not that they did well in some and failed in some," said Sarandeep Singh while speaking to ANI.
"Shami was a big factor in Gujarat's win as he took wickets upfront. He used to give early breakthroughs to the team. They were earlier perceived as underdogs as after the auction there were not many big buys and big names. People thought they will finish at the bottom but the way they played they dominated IPL right from the day one," he added.
The former India cricketer also praised head coach Ashish Nehra and batting coach Gary Kirsten for their work as they played a crucial role in leading a debutant side to victory.
"We have seen Gary Kirsten's coaching during 2011 where he won the world cup managing so many big names in the side. He knows how to handle the side and Ashish Nehra is also with the team and he speaks with bowlers on how to bowl in pressure situations. A combination of both of them worked for Gujarat and you saw the same thing in the final on how well the bowlers bowled and how well the batters scored runs and how well they fielded also. This combination is very rare which we used to see in teams like Mumbai Indians or Chennai Super Kings who used to dominate in IPL but it felt good that a new franchise came and won the league. They beat all the big teams and won the championship, " said Sarandeep Singh.
Gujarat Titans became the seventh team to win the IPL title by beating inaugural champions Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets in the final in their home ground in Ahmedabad. (ANI)