Vijay Shankar, whose unbroken 24-ball 51* was a cornerstone of Gujarat Titans' seven-wicket victory over Kolkata Knight Riders on Saturday, was all praise for the welcoming atmosphere in the dressing room of the defending champions. Vijay attributed the Titans' achievement to the team management, thanking them for their encouragement and support. The Gujarat franchise has already established itself as one of the formidable teams in the Indian Premier League in just their second season.
"The team management plays a major role in keeping everyone in a very good space," remarked Vijay at the post-game press conference. "We stick together, and we practice an insane lot. Although we do it for hours on end, other teams do it as well. In the IPL and T20 cricket, there will be difficult circumstances that we need to get out of. It's about working together and speaking clearly.
"They (team management) keep us in a really nice space, and by doing the right thing, they don't simply give us what we want. We don't just show up, practice, and leave throughout practice. We work out with a goal in mind. which has major significance. They provide us with clarity, outline roles, and prepare people to act in the team's best interests. Because the team includes not only the players but also the support staff and even the net bowlers, it is very unique. Everyone merits praise. That is the necessary positive energy.
Regarding the culture of the team, Vijay elaborated on how Rashid Khan was constantly chatting with Noor Ahmad, a fellow countryman, despite the latter's rare bad day on the field. Noor produced a magnificent stint with an economy of sub six runs per over while Rashid was thoroughly beaten.
"Rashid and Noor get along well. They converse fluently in their native tongue. Despite having a bad day, Rashid kept in touch with Noor and still performed well for the squad. Sometimes both players will click for the team, other times just one player will. Rashid's communication with Noor enabled him to succeed on such a wicket.
One of the most important factors in Gujarat's success has been their bowling attack. They can usually put constant pressure on the opponent by having their main bowlers available for all phases, which results in opportunities to take wickets. This was demonstrated once more on Saturday when they managed to hold the Knight Riders to 179 on a field where 200 appeared to be a passing grade.
The greatest asset we have is that. There are five to six consistent bowlers who perform the same duties time and time again. Someone else will step up and take the wickets if someone is going for runs. Not only is it important to bowl tightly, but also to get wickets. In the majority of our games, we have taken more than six wickets, which is fantastic in a T20 match. We will find methods to take wickets, adjust to a surface, and pick up wickets since that has been our strength.
Vijay praised Hardik Pandya, the team's captain, and thought the all-rounder had a significant impact on the team. Despite the occasional flash of brilliance, the latter hasn't individually had the best of seasons, but Vijay thought that his captain has been able to make a difference in the locker room with his presence and attitude.
"Hardik is very combative. He wished to help the group. He seeks to prevail in challenging circumstances. We needed Rohit Sharma's wicket in the game against MI, and he provided it for us. He batted at number three against LSG on a challenging surface and scored 60. He is taking on responsibilities as captain, which is the right course of action. It's your responsibility as captain to lead by example for the squad. He is someone who does that, so the other players have a lot of faith in him and follow his lead when the team asks us to.
With nearly 200 runs at a fantastic strike rate of 165.83, Vijay has had an amazing season thus far. His ball-striking has been the biggest surprise. Shankar has always had the physique and build to hammer the ball, but he hasn't always felt as confident about doing it as he has this season. The Tamil Nadu all-rounder credited his preseason preparation for it.
"I missed five to six months of action before to the IPL due to an injury. I won the Ranji Trophy when I returned. I made numerous changes, and they were successful for me. I altered my diet, paying attention not just to my physical health but also to the crucial mental component of my game. Together with the rest of the team here, the management here assisted me in properly exiting the situation. Happy with how well it turned out.
Given that Vijay unexpectedly made it onto the Indian team for the 2019 tournament and is performing well in an ODI World Cup year, there has been some lighthearted commentary on social media platforms. Even though it seems unlikely at this point, you can't rule out history repeating itself given that the World Cup is in six months and the injuries to key players. Vijay put emphasis on remaining in the present and made the decision to find the humor in the situation.
"It is too far away. I'm not really thinking about any of that in my head because I have no control over it. I can only focus on helping my team win games. I can only find satisfaction in that. Well and good if that (the World Cup selection) happens. We all adore playing cricket, so even if it doesn't happen, we will still do so. I just want to enjoy my cricket with no expectations.
Like betting on any other sport, cricket in India involves figuring out the likelihood of various outcomes. Odds are a way of expressing the likelihood that a specific event will take place, such a team winning a game or a player scoring a specific number of runs. Making wise and successful wagers requires an understanding of the odds.
When the Titans win, Mohit Sharma steals the show