In a very short span, Shubman Gill has shown that he is a superstar in the making. Just 23 years old, he boasts of an impeccable record in all three formats of the game. He is the youngest batsman to score a double century in ODIs, has the highest score (126*) by an Indian in T20Is and has now added a second Test century (128) to his CV, his first on home soil.
Not a cake-walk
Despite an abundance of talent, It has not been easy for him to walk into the team. Take the ongoing Test series against Australia as an example. Gill had shown tremendous form in white-ball cricket. Everybody thought he would be in the playing XI right from the start. But KL Rahul was backed for the first two Tests and it was only after he failed in both Nagpur and Delhi that Gill got a chance to open with captain Rohit Sharma at Indore.
Unluckily, the pitch at the Holkar stadium was a rank turner and like most batsmen, he couldn’t make a mark.
Fortunately, the pitch at the Narendra Modi Stadium here turned out to be batsman-friendly and the in-form batter did not let go of such an opportunity. He batted with grit and determination to keep the Aussie bowlers at bay. On Friday evening, Gill had made his intentions clear when he stepped out and hit off-spinner Nathan Lyon for a straight six.
“It feels great to get a hundred in India. This is my IPL home ground and I am glad to get some runs here. The pitch was pretty good to bat on. Anything that was happening off the pitch was through the rough. It was important for us to bat big and keep taking the singles whenever possible and that’s what my mindset was,” Gill said after close of play.
The most impressive aspect of Gill’s batting is his wide range of strokes, both off the front and back foot, be it against spin or pace. He never gets bogged down and always tries to dominate the bowling. Thus, as long as he is at the crease, runs keep flowing.
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Test average needs to go up
One thing that still needs improvement is his current Test average, which is just 34.23 in 15 Tests, compared to 73.66 in 21 ODIs and 40.40 in six T20Is. But then, he has always been in and out of the Test XI. Hopefully, with Saturday’s knock he’ll get a much longer rope in red-ball cricket, beginning with the World Test Championship final at Oval in London in June. If he gets to play, it will be a big test for him. Not that he has not been tested overseas. He came out with flying colours with a superb 91 in that famous Brisbane Test win in 2021, more remembered for an unbeaten 89 by Pant.
This is just the right start for Gill to carve a niche for himself in Indian cricket.
No. of centuries scored by Shubman Gill in his last nine international matches