On Friday night, April 5, 2023, the defending champion Gujarat Titans will host the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings in the first game of the 2023 Indian Premier League. The pressure will be on Hardik Pandya and the Gujarat side to repeat as champions after their impressive performance last year. The Titans won the title in their first season in the league.
Hardik had returned to professional cricket in the IPL last year after a lengthy absence; he had a fantastic season, finishing as the team’s highest scorer and also claiming 8 wickets in 15 games. Hardik’s reliable play has landed him a spot in the Indian limited-overs squads, and earlier this year, the all-rounder captained India to victory in Twenty20 International (T20I) series victories over Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
“Hardik Pandya batting at No.4 in my opinion is a little high. In an ideal world, I would like to have him at No.5 or 6. But I think No.5 is the perfect position for him. If it can balance out with the right-left (combination) and the match situation, I don’t think there is a better position for him,”AB de Villiers told JioCinema.
For this season with the Gujarat Titans, however, former South African and Royal Challengers Bangalore great de Villiers has advised Hardik to switch his batting position. The all-rounder, in de Villiers’ opinion, belongs in the middle order rather than the top four. Hardik was a regular fixture at the top of the Titans’ batting order last season.
The Titans have strengthened their team for the upcoming 2023 season by adding players like Kane Williamson, Shivam Mavi, Joshua Little, Odean Smith, and KS Bharat.