He will be the third Afghanistan player at the franchise alongside Rashid Khan and Noor Ahmad
ESPNcricinfo has learned that Gurbaz, who went unsold at the IPL auction in February, is recruited for one season at his base price of INR 50 lakh (approx $66,000). It will be the first IPL stint for the 20-year-old.
Gurbaz will be a back-up for Australian wicketkeeper-batter Matthew Wade, who is likely to open alongside Shubman Gill. It is understood Gurbaz was part of the shortlist of contenders Titans considered as Roy’s replacement. The list also included Australian batter Ben McDermott, who recently hit his maiden T20I half-century during the home series against Sri Lanka after having finished as the leading run scorer in the 2021-22 BBL. However, availability was a hurdle in McDermott’s case, so Titans settled for Gurbaz, who has been impressive since he first made headlines at the 2018 Under-19 World Cup where he played a key role in Afghanistan reaching the semi-final.
Since September 2019, among 65 players who have scored 1500-plus T20 runs, Gurbaz’s has the eighth-highest strike rate (153.05). A hard-hitting batter who can play shots all around the ground, Gurbaz made a 24-ball 43 on his T20I debut, a 19-ball 50 on his BPL debut and a 22-ball 53 on his Lanka Premier League debut. On his ODI debut, he struck a run-a-ball 127 and has three hundreds in nine matches in the format.
Titans camp in Ahmedabad
Titans’ squad along with their coaching staff will assemble in Ahmedabad on March 13 for a preparatory camp, which will be conducted at the Narendra Modi Stadium. It is understood the camp, which will be prefaced by the mandatory quarantine period laid down by IPL, will start from March 17 and last till March 24. Titans’ contingent will head to Mumbai before playing their maiden IPL match on March 28 against fellow new entrants Super Giants.
This main camp follows a short camp Titans conducted in Vadodara, which was attended by just five Indian players under the supervision of Nehra. Along with Pandya, the other four players were Varun Aaron, Rahul Tewatia, young Karnataka batter Abhinav Manohar and Vidarbha fast bowler Darshan Nalkande.
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo