'Star has been on the wane recently' - Aakash Chopra puts this big-name GT player on spotlight
Even as they made it to the playoffs stage with the numero uno tag at the end of the IPL 2023 league phase, defending champions Gujarat Titans (GT) haven't quite been at their best. A loss in Qualifier 1 to Chennai Super Kings (CSK) being vindictive of their problems, the Titans have had multiple of their key players enduring a topsy-turvey campaign.
The spotlight is firm on these cricketers, including the big-name figures of skipper Hardik Pandya and David Miller, who have struggled to reiterate their prowess against opposition attacks throughout the season after being influential in GT's ascent towards the prestigious crown last summer.
Of these two, former India Test batter turned leading commentator, Aakash Chopra, put Miller under the scanner, insisting that the "star has been on the wane", especially in recent games for the Titans. Even though the aggressive South African left-hander has retained a healthy strike-rate of 145.50, he has averaged a modest 32.37 for his 259 runs in 13 innings of IPL 2023.
In Qualifier 1 versus CSK in Chepauk, the experienced cricketer failed to keep the Titans afloat in their stiff run-chase on a dry wicket and was out for a measly 4 off 6 deliveries. That would have to change as the Titans take on Mumbai Indians (MI) in Qualifier 2 on Friday (May 26), their last chance to revive the campaign and make it to the finals for a rematch with CSK on Sunday.
Chopra on David Miller's indifferent run in IPL 2023
Speaking on his YouTube channel ahead of the GT-MI marquee encounter in Ahmedabad, Chopra assessed the Titans' batting issues and pointed out David Miller's indifferent run and dip in performances as a major headache for the defending champions.
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"This team has surprised me slightly in the last few games. The batting order is generally not topsy-turvy but they have done that. Vijay Shankar batted at No. 3 against Bangalore and scored 50 runs, he batted really well," Chopra said.
"When the next match came in Chennai, Hardik Pandya was at No. 3. The guy is not if red-hot form because he hasn't even scored 300 runs in this entire tournament. David Miller's star has been on the wane recently, that's another development that is hurting Gujarat's team," he added.
The Titans' batting problems are reflected in their numbers chart. Even as the prodigiously talented Shubman Gill has reigned supreme with 722 runs made in 15 innings, only one other GT player - Vijay Shankar (301) - has reached the 300-mark for the season. A stark contrast from their inspirational run in IPL 2022 when the trio of Hardik, Miller and Gill all made it past the 400-barrier.