Gujarat, the home of Indian politics. The home of Gandhi, the home of the great Narendra Modi. How fitting then that from the scandal hit ruins of the Rajatsan and Chennai franchises, a glorious Gujarat will rise. It would be terrific fun if Gujarat could pull off something special in their inaugural season.
I am heading up to Gujarat next week and I am looking forward to getting a sense of how excited the men and women of the great state will be about having IPL cricket come to their state for the very first time. Brad Hodge is in to coach and they're sponsored by the payment provider Oxigen. It feels as though they have fitted quite quickly into the world of the IPL and their name is much snappier than their southern neighbours down in Pune.
Still, they're priced up as outsiders, but there's a lot of talent in this squad, so let's delve in and see what we have in store for the IPL 2016.
Well aye aye Capitano! Suresh Raina, you won't be upset with him walking out to the crease. at 12.5 crore he didn't come cheap but he is steady, reliable and a hero of Indian cricket. He feels like a Gujarati captain, dignified, unblemished, strong, you can hear the crowds chanting his name already.
Following him in to bat is Australian Aaron Finch along with New Zealand rival Brendon McCullum. McCullum is the sort of mature figure that you want in a dressing room but the after match parties might be a sight to be seen. Dwayne Bravo and Dwayne Smith in one corner setting off fireworks and cheap vodka, whilst McCullum and Raina sit sipping Whiskey in the corner with cigars.
What I am trying to say is that there is maturity and fierce, fiery brashness in this line up and that could make for a pretty awesome show. Keep an eye on some of the young Indian batsmen, Akshdeep Nath in particular, but I can't imagine they'll see many overs in the middle.
Dale Steyn from one end, Praveen Kumar from the other. Well, that makes sense if it's the first day of a five day test at Eden Gardens but surely someone forgot to tell the selectors that this was Twenty20.
A lot of what Steyn and Kumar can offer already comes from the two West Indian Dwaynes and Jadeja may well find that he has his work cut out when it comes to the bowling. It's a solid line up and there could be some very good death bowling on offer her. But wickets win matches in the IPL and you just don't feel as though too many will come from these guys.
Dale Steyn and Sunil Narine, now that would be the sort of opening duo I'd like to see, but perhaps Jadeja will do and who knows? It's certainly not the worst bowling line up in the tournament. There are a number of young bowlers in the squad too and it's nice to see a new team dedicating so much of their resources to giving experience to the younger generation. Saying that Pravin Tambe, at 44, might be the oldest player in the tournament.
For a first effort this is a good team. Not the glamour and gush of teams like the RCB but they will be formidable opponents to anyone they run into. It's going to be a long tournament and it feels like these guys have what it takes to be there at the end, even if it doesn't feel like they have what it takes to lift the trophy.
Gujarat Lions squad for 2016-17 season
Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, James Faulkner, Brendon McCullum, Praveen Kumar, Dale Steyn, Dinesh Karthik, Dwayne Smith, Dhawal Kulkarni, Aaron Finch, Eklavya Dwivedi, Andrew Tye, Ishan Kishan, Jaydev Shah, Shadab Jakati, Pravin Tambe, Pradeep Sangwan, Amit Mishra, Shivil Kaushik, Aksh Deep Nath, Sarabjeet Ladda, Umang Sharma, Paras Dogra.