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Gujarat Titans might have made a topsy-turvy start to IPL 2024 but their mentor Gary Kirsten backed Shubman Gill, and said the young captain will learn the nuances of making tactical decisions in the fast-paced world of T20 cricket. Titans, the IPL 2022 winner and the current runners-up, are now placed seventh on the table with two points from as many matches after a win over Mumbai Indians and defeat against Chennai Super Kings. “It’s a fast game. You are making tactical decisions on a regular basis. It’s not like Test cricket where it unfolds over a long period of time. “I’ve been really impressed with the way he’s conducted himself as a leader,” Kirsten told the media on the eve of GT’s day-game against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday. Kirsten said Gill, who took over as GT skipper after Hardik Pandya moved to MI, has adjusted to his role well.

“I think he’s embraced it (captaincy) really well. He’s shown some good leadership qualities. He’s a smart guy. He’s a young captain, and there’s lots to learn, especially in T20. So, he’ll learn along the way.” Kirsten admitted that the Titans were well below par in their big 63-run defeat against the Super Kings, which also affected their net run rate.

“As with any cricket team, you want to play to the best of your ability. We weren’t good enough that day (against CSK). I think we’ve acknowledged that and we’ve had our conversations around what we need to make sure that we are better to gain from our skills.

“Every team has different kinds of strengths and we didn’t show that in the CSK game and we just got to move on,” he said.

The former South African cricketer stressed that GT should not repeat the errors which they made against Chennai, keeping in mind the importance of net run rate in the tournament.

“We have lost one match by a big margin. We have to make that up. We know that teams end up on the same points and you know one goes through (based on NRR). So, it’s something that we are constantly mindful of. But we’ll need a really good win somewhere,” he detailed.

However, Kirsten was not ready to be critical of Gujarat’s top-order which so far hasn’t fired as expected.

“Our top order has done well. The 96 that Sai Sudharsan made in the final last year was one of the better knocks that I’ve seen in T20. The most important thing is to give people an opportunity to showcase their skills.

“If you’re just blowing hot and cold and getting into crisis management because you haven’t won a game, it can get yourself into trouble very quickly. T20 is a high-risk game and you’ve got to allow the players to take a bit of risk.” Irrespective of the result, Kirsten said it’s imperative to support the players and create a friendly environment in the dressing room.

“You got to back your players and believe what they can do. We’ve tried to build continuity in this programme in the GT squad and ensure that guys are comfortable in their positions and let them know that they’re being backed even though they might not fire all the time,” he added.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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