Brad Hodge is the second best scorer in T20 format © IANS
Brad Hodge is the second best scorer in T20 format © IANS

Brad Hodge, head coach of Gujarat Lions (GL) is aiming high for ninth edition of IPL. Gujarat Lions aren’t just there to fill in the place for the 8th team in the tournament. They are in this to win the tournament under Suresh Raina’s captaincy. They are backing themselves to go against veteran teams in IPL 2016. Gujarat Lions along with Rising Pune Supergiants have been given two years license to play in IPL. Brad Hodge has set the bar high for the newbie putting in faith in his team to go against experienced teams. However, only the name of the team has changed but the players have quite impressive experience of IPL and know the conditions. Though, Rajkot will be a new home for them. READ: IPL 2016 set to sooth heartache of millions of Indian T20 fans

Hodge told Star Sports India,”I sit here and think we can win the title. That’s the ambition. Every team would sit there and think ‘if we could make the qualifiers or the finals you give yourself a 50-50 chance going into that’. He added “My job is to get the best out of every individual and make sure that happens. I’m very much a person who doesn’t need a lot of motivating. If I can get that across to the players hopefully it will take care of itself.” READ: Sunil Narine cleared by ICC with remodeled bowling action

The squad features big names like Suresh Raina (skipper), Ravindra Jadeja, Brendon McCullum, James Faulkner, Dwayne Bravo, Dale Steyn, Dinesh Karthik and Dwayne Smith.”Looking back at the whole process before the auction, looking at the money situation I really think (new teams) Pune and the Lions were up against it,” Hodge said.”We had to find 14 players with a (limited) purse and we only had five (players already signed) while other teams had pretty much a full list. READ: Jacques Kallis: Kolkata Knight Riders are a very well balanced unit

I think we did an exceptional job. I’m really happy with the team. There’s some great match-winners there, some super talent” he added. Hodge also showed his concerns stating that the team has to go through everything what every team did in Inaugural IPL in 2008. He said “The hardest thing is starting fresh. Everything’s hard for the administration, the management, the players – it’s just brand new. People have to worry about new uniforms, grounds, ticket sales, all those sort of things that every other team pretty much has set in stone – the game plane is there, the recipe is there, they [the established teams] just have to follow it, whereas we’re sort of up against it. Everyone’s been working behind the scenes pretty hard to make sure everything’s comfortable. As soon as you get the first game underway those things will flow a little bit easier and people will become accustomed and we’ll just move on.”

He approaches with a “very relaxed and calm approach”. He said “I’ve got a whole new team that I need to gel together,” he said. “They need to work out their strengths and weaknesses pretty quickly. That’s definitely a challenge because other teams, they pretty much know how everyone plays and how settled they are. The good thing for us is there’s a new challenge of [creating] energy and atmosphere. Once everyone gets to know everyone, which is pretty much the task over the next few days, we should be fine.”

 Brad Hodge, till date is only one step behind leading run-scorer Chris Gayle in T20 Format. “There are certain people who are more number-orientated, I’m probably more of an instinctive person – the knowledge is up there [brain],” Hodge said. But you certainly need to marry the two. In the last few weeks I’ve had a lot of numbers coming in, filtering through it, working through it. Some of it’s great and some of it doesn’t matter, but you have got to have it. In a team of 20-odd people there’s certain people that love that [data] and there’s certain people that don’t. I was always one that sat in the back of a team meeting and slept for about half an hour while all that stuff went on. Now as a coach I need to digest it all and present it. I’m very much an instinctive player and I now have to cater for everyone.”