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Captain Shubman Gill speaks on IPL 2009 memories, his captaincy influences

GUJARAT: Ahead of his team's campaign opening clash against Mumbai Indians (MI), the newly-appointed captain, Shubman Gill, reminisced on his journey from sneaking into stadiums to watch Indian Premier League (IPL) matches during league's early days to finally captaining a team and also spoke on which iconic stars will be his guiding figures as a leader.

Last year's runners-up, the Gujarat Titans (GT) and five-time champions, the Mumbai Indians (MI), will square off against each other in a mouth-watering campaign opening clash on Sunday at Ahmedabad's Narendra Modi Stadium. The fixture has gained a lot of hype because of star all-rounder Hardik Pandya's move from to his former team, MI, last year, following two great seasons with GT. Shubman Gill has taken over the captaincy of GT. MI will, on the other hand, be led by Pandya, who has replaced the five-time IPL-winning skipper, Rohit Sharma.

Speaking in a video posted by the IPL's official X handle, Gill said, "I remember in 2009 (2008) sneaking into the stadium to watch IPL players in action. From then to now, captaining an IPL team, the journey has been great. I remember the first time I sneaked in and jumped off a gate, and the security guards were chasing us. It was me and my other best friends. We got pictures with Brett Lee, Kumar Sangakkara, and Mahela Jayawardene (former Punjab Kings players). MI was playing so I also met Sachin sir (Tendulkar)."

Talking about his captaincy influences, Gill said that though India's World Cup winning skipper MS Dhoni is an inspiration for him, he will pick up a lot of things from Rohit Sharma's captaincy, someone under whom he has played the majority of his cricket at international level.

"Mahi (MS Dhoni) bhai, I have not played under him. But watching him as a kid go about things and how he used to handle things is my inspiration. I have played some Tests under Virat Kohli as well. I have played most of my cricket under Rohit Sharma; there are a lot of qualities I will be picking up from him," said Gill.

On playing against Hardik Pandya, once his captain and teammate in GT and someone under who he has played for India as well in T20Is, Gill said, "It is going to be interesting. Hardik bhai, I have played for the Indian team and the Gujarat Titans. It is going to be exciting. Hopefully, the stadium will be fully packed, cheering for us. There is nothing better than that."

"I am grateful for what I have achieved so far and hopefully I will be able to achieve a lot more. I cannot pinpoint that this or that thing will be different this time (in him as a player now that he is a captain). But by the time the season ends, if I am happy, my team will be happy and we will make some good memories. If we make some good memories, I would be able to sit back and tell myself that we had a great season," concluded Gill.

Mumbai Indians Squad: Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan(w), Tilak Varma, Hardik Pandya(c), Tim David, Nehal Wadhera, Mohammad Nabi, Piyush Chawla, Gerald Coetzee, Jasprit Bumrah, Luke Wood, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Gopal, Vishnu Vinod, Shams Mulani, Romario Shepherd, Arjun Tendulkar, Kumar Kartikeya, Shivalik Sharma, Anshul Kamboj, Akash Madhwal, Nuwan Thushara, Dewald Brevis, Kwena Maphaka, Naman Dhir

Gujarat Titans Squad: Shubman Gill(c), Wriddhiman Saha(w), Sai Sudharsan, David Miller, Vijay Shankar, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Joshua Little, Mohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Noor Ahmad, Kane Williamson, Matthew Wade, Jayant Yadav, Sandeep Warrier, Shahrukh Khan, Abhinav Manohar, Sharath BR, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, Darshan Nalkande, Kartik Tyagi, Spencer Johnson, Azmatullah Omarzai, Sushant Mishra


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