Gujarat Titans look stronger for their title defence
Hardik Pandya is now a more experienced captain, and Shubman Gill comes into the IPL in excellent form
Where Gujarat Titans finished last season
Right at the top, winning the IPL title in their debut season.
Gujarat Titans squad for IPL 2023
Hardik Pandya (capt), Shubman Gill, Rahul Tewatia, Mohammed Shami, Shivam Mavi, Yash Dayal, R Sai Kishore, Abhinav Manohar, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Jayant Yadav, Vijay Shankar, KS Bharat (wk), Mohit Sharma, Darshan Nalkande, Urvil Patel, Sai Sudharsan, Pradeep Sangwan, Rashid Khan, David Miller, Matthew Wade (wk), Alzarri Joseph, Kane Williamson, Josh Little, Odean Smith, Noor Ahmad
Player availability - David Miller arrives late
David Miller will arrive in India on April 3, after South Africa's ODI series against Netherlands. So he will miss Titans' first game, the tournament opener against Chennai Super Kings on March 31. He should be available for selection for their second match, against Delhi Capitals on April 4 in Delhi.
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Ireland fast bowler Josh Little missed the recent ODI series in Bangladesh as he was recovering from a hamstring strain, but he has joined the Titans squad. He will, however, leave for two home ODIs against Bangladesh in the second week of May. The rest of their overseas contingent should be available for the whole season.
What's new with Gujarat Titans this year
Titans have three new overseas players: Kane Williamson, Odean Smith and Little. The trio replaces Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Dominic Drakes and Lockie Ferguson. Wicketkeeper KS Bharat and fast bowler Shivam Mavi have also been recruited and could be in action at some stage during the season.
The good - Shubman Gill and Co high on confidence
The current Titans squad looks better than last season's title-winning team. Hardik Pandya has gained experience as captain, and has added the inswinger to his bowling arsenal. Shubman Gill will be much more assured after his recent success at international level. Rashid Khan is fresh from winning the PSL title with Lahore Qalandars. He was the third-highest wicket-taker in the tournament, with 20 scalps in 11 games at an economy rate of 6.53 (the overall tournament economy was 9.20).
Their top seven has a good mix of right and left-hand batters, especially if Matthew Wade features in the first XI, and the presence of Hardik and a few bowling allrounders ensures they bat deep.
Playing home games at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, with a possible 100,000 fans cheering for them, will in itself be an advantage. Moreover, the venue allows Titans to pick from a variety of pitches. Given they have the squad - especially the bowling attack - for all kinds of surfaces, they can choose what sort of pitch to play on depending on the opposition's strengths and weaknesses.
Titans also arranged three pre-season camps under head coach Ashish Nehra to warm themselves up for the tournament. In short, all the ingredients are there to avoid second-season syndrome.
The not-so-good - Does Wriddhiman Saha work at the top?
Their back-up overseas players, apart from Williamson, are thin on international experience. Even Williamson is not a natural in T20 cricket. Other than that, they have most bases covered. Perhaps another proven Indian batter would have made their first XI even stronger. That player could have slotted in at No. 3, with Wade replacing Saha at the top.
Titans are among three teams (Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad being the other two) who play alternate games at home and away all through. This means they will be travelling after every game, and will have to work harder at managing the play and travel workloads of players.
The big question
Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo