Brad Hodge.

The biggest story of the current season of the Indian Premier League has been the rise of the new franchise Gujarat Lions.

The Lions, unlike the other franchise that was set up this season, the Rising Pune Supergiants, have done extremely well up to this point in the tournament and are currently at the top of the points table level on points with the Sunrisers Hyderabad.

It has been refreshing to see a new franchise take on the big guns in the competition and the coach, Brad Hodge was all smiles in a recent interview with the press.

Ahead of the team’s game in the weekend, Brad Hodge praised the captaincy skills of skipper Suresh Raina.

He felt that it was good to see Raina, who has been under Dhoni for most of his career, get his chance to lead a team and that he has done it extremely well.

“We’ve had some excellent leadership from Suresh.”

He’s been behind Mahendra Singh (Dhoni) for a long time, so this was his first opportunity to come and really explore what he’s like as a captain and he’s done that marvelously well,” Hodge said.

He also went on to credit his whole team and the balance is the squad and felt that most of the players in the starting XI were match-winners and that it has helped the side in more ways than one.

We’ve always said that from the two openers that walk out, to the guys that take the new ball, our spinners, Bravo, something like that, who can turn the game with bat or ball.”

“We’re very fortunate to have that list of match-winners. It’s what makes us dangerous,” he added.

The Lions, who are in pole position to qualify for the play-offs in their debut season have just one remark on their performance so far this season. They net run rate after 11 games is in the negative while the Sunrisers Hyderabad are comfortably in the positives.

However, Hodge felt that it was more important to win games and hoped that his team will not get the qualification scenario down to the NRR come to the business end of the season.

“I think when we had a couple of bad losses in the tournament earlier, we knew that did affect our NRR, but having said that, we’ve maintained a fairly good winning streak and if we can continue that form here to the end of the tournament, that should nullify the poor run-rate,” he added.

The Australian national was also asked about the preparations his team has made for the game against the hard-hitting Royal Challengers Bangalore.

He felt that his team has a very good balance and also felt that his sides batting line-up can match the power in the RCB’s line-up.

“We’ve got a good defensive bowling line-up to stop that 200 score, but we’ve also got a pretty dynamic batting line-up that can track down any sort of score.”

“I’m fairly certain that whatever way it goes, we’ve got some power that matches RCB power,” Hodge said.

To wrap off, Hodge had his own say on the trend of the chasing teams winning more matches in the current IPL season. He felt that the confidence of players has made a difference but felt that the pitches in the country have also played a part.

“Maybe it’s the wickets, which have been a little bit better this IPL. When I walk out and see the wickets myself I get a little bit thirsty to have a walk out there and have a bat.”

“Players also are a little bit more comfortable with chasing, they’re also more knowledgeable,” he added.

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