suresh raina
Suresh Raina will lead the Gujarat Lions in the 2016 edition of the Indian Premier LeagueGetty

Overview

The second new franchise in the 2016 edition of the Indian Premier League, the Gujarat Lions have picked some of the most impressive players from one of IPL's most consistent sides. In Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Bravo, James Faulkner, Ravindra Jadeja, Aaron Finch, Dale Steyn and Dwayne Smith they have got an explosive line-up of players who can win games single-handedly. Add Suresh Raina, who has been named captain to the mix, and you have a well assembled unit.

The downside of the side is that apart from these big names, the Lions have 12 uncapped Indian players in the squad. While they will have the fire to perform, the lack of experience might just hurt the side.

The bowling is another worry, as barring Steyn, the squad is made up of medium-pacers who might just become cannon fodder if pitches turn out to favour batsmen.

Coach: Brad Hodge

Key player

Brendon McCullum: One of the best T20 players in the world, Brendon McCullum will always be part of IPL folklore after he scored a 73-ball unbeaten 158 runs in the first match of the inaugural season against Royal Challenger Bangalore. In fact, McCullum has been a consistent performer in the IPL, scoring 2080 runs in 76 games at a strike rate of 128 with two centuries to his credit.

He might be a little rusty as he has not played much since his retirement a couple of months back, but he fits the saying: "Form is temporary, class is permanent", meaning McCullum will be all set to fire with the bat.

Fixtures

Date Day Time Matches Venue

11/04/16Monday8.00 PM IST (3.30pm BST)Kings XI Punjab vs Gujarat LionsMohali
14/04/16Thursday8.00 PM IST (3:30pm BST)Gujarat Lions vs Rising Pune SupergiantsRajkot
16/04/16Saturday8.00 PM IST (3.30pm BST)Mumbai Indians vs Gujarat LionsMumbai
21/04/16Thursday8.00 PM IST (3:30pm BST)Gujarat Lions vs Sunrisers HyderabadRajkot
24/04/16Sunday4.00 PM IST (11:30am BST)Gujarat Lions vs Royal Challengers BangaloreRajkot
27/04/16Wednesday8.00 PM IST (3:30pm BST)Delhi Daredevils vs Gujarat LionsDelhi
29/04/16Friday8.00 PM IST (3:30pm BST)Rising Pune Supergiants vs Gujarat LionsPune
01/05/16Sunday4.00 PM IST (11:30am BST)Gujarat Lions vs Kings XI PunjabRajkot
03/05/16Tuesday8.00 PM IST (3:30pm BST)Gujarat Lions vs Delhi DaredevilsRajkot
06/05/16Friday8.00 PM IST (3:30pm BST)Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Gujarat LionsHyderabad
08/05/16Saturday8.00 PM IST (3:30pm BST)Kolkata Knight Riders vs Gujarat LionsKolkata
14/05/16Sunday4.00 PM IST (10:30am BST)Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Gujarat LionsBangalore
19/05/16Thursday8.00 PM IST (3:30pm BST)Gujarat Lions vs Kolkata Knight RidersTBD
21/05/16Saturday8.00 PM IST (3:30pm BST)Gujarat Lions vs Mumbai IndiansTBD

IPL History: This is the franchise's first time in the Indian Premier League.

Squad: Suresh Raina (C), Sarabjit Ladda, Akshdeep Nath , Amit Mishra, Dwayne Bravo, Paras Dogra, Eklavya Dwivedi, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Ishan Kishan, Ravindra Jadeja, Shadab Jakati, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Shivil Kaushik, Dhawal Kulkarni, Praveen Kumar, Brendon McCullum, Pradeep Sangwan, Jaydev Shah, Umang Sharma, Dwayne Smith, Dale Steyn, Pravin Tambe, Andrew Tye.

Prediction: An unknown quantity, the Gujarat Lions might just surprise fans with their performances. Their overseas contingent is their obvious strength, but it will be interesting to see how Suresh Raina handles captaincy.