On Friday, Vikram Solanki, former England cricketer and Director of Cricket of the new Ahmedabad IPL franchise revealed the team’s three picks on Star Sports ahead of the IPL 2022 Mega Auction.

“We are delighted to inform all of our fans from Gujarat and beyond about three players we have picked before the Mega Auction. Firstly, our captain Hardik Pandya, who has been signed for a sum of Rs. 15 crore. Joining him will be Rashid Khan, also for a sum of Rs. 15 crore. Finally, Shubman Gill for the sum of Rs. 8 crore. We believe these players will lay the foundation for success in the coming season and for many years to come.”

The names had been doing the rounds for a while so they come as no surprise but other than Rashid Khan, the other two have struggled to make their mark in the last couple of IPL seasons. The potential is there but whether they can shine when the team wants them to is anybody’s guess.

And from that point of view, Team Mentor Gary Kirsten is going to be key. He will have his hands full with handling a lot of work at ground level, but the key area will be to assist players in preparing them to be the best versions of themselves and the team that they are going to play.

He spoke to Star Sports about what the franchise expects from the players:

Kirsten on working with Hardik Pandya

“I am looking forward to working with Hardik as a young and new captain. I think he will be really motivated to come in and make a plan and show what he is capable of at this level of the game as a leader. He’s a great player. What I have heard is that he is really keen to get into the mix and get involved. I think he understands the importance of this tournament. What I have heard is that he is raring to go and get into the mix from a leadership perspective. So, I think that’s really exciting for us to have a player with such a level of skill, motivated to do well in this competition.”

Kirsten on Rashid Khan and Shubman Gill

“I am really excited by both of them. They are both high performers – Rashid Khan has gone around the world, proven his value anywhere, so that’s an incredible signing for us. I am very excited to work with him – I haven’t yet – but I have seen him a lot, have met him few times, but have never really worked with him. So, I am looking forward to that. Certainly, watching him on the field, he’s a very competitive, young man that wants to do well for the franchise that he’s been involved in. Gill is a fantastic player, who, in my view, should be playing for India. He is on the verge of that and has played already. With great flair and instinct for the game, he could be a match-winner on his own. From a batting perspective, I am looking forward to working with him and helping him give the best out of an IPL season. We’re playing in the best competition in the world, just to make sure that’s it’s something important for us as a franchise and that the players come in and realise that it is an honour to be part of this franchise and performing for this team.”