Shubman Gill has been a breakout stars among the current crop of youngsters in Indian cricket. From that brilliant 91 against Australia at the Gabba, to taking baby steps in ODIs in 2022 to finally smashing it, Gill has made heads turn and how? He has played just six ODIs in 2023 and has already amassed over 570 runs and with plenty more matches to do, this just seems to be the start of the year of Gill. To be in a line-up comprising Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav, outscoring, out-batting and outperforming all three of them combined is not something every youngster can brag about. And Gill has done that, with style, panache and audacity.
That Gill has had the support of Kohli and Rohit surely ought to do his confidence a world of good. He walks out to bat with Rohit – who has 30 ODI centuries and is later joined by Kohli, with 46. Batting with two absolute greats of Indian and world cricket, Gill could have easily gotten awestruck in their presence, but instead, he made his two senior pros take note of him regularly. Having said that, Gill acknowledged the contribution and impact of Kohli and Rohit in his young career and enjoys picking their brains.
“It’s amazing to bat with these guys. They are the ones I have grown up watching and admiring. Especially, those tours where India used to be in Australia and I used to just watch them and go ‘This is so amazing’. Going out and performing, scoring 100s after 100s. How do they do it? How do they keep performing consistently years after years,” Gill told India coach Rahul Dravid in a video uploaded by BCCI.
While Gill has struck fine partnerships with both Rohit and Kohli, it is the India captain who he strikes a stronger bond with like all successful opening pairs do. With Gill and Rohit putting on partnerships of 212, 143, 95 and 76 in the last four out of six innings, there seems to be a new camaraderie brewing between the Indian cricket’s most recent ODI opening pair. While speaking to Dravid, Gill narrated an interesting incident that took place between him and Rohit while they were batting during the 3rd ODI at Indore’s Holkar Stadium.
“To be out batting with him, it’s the little things that make a huge difference. Like when I and Rohit bhai were batting – I think he was on 70 or 80 – and Daryl Mitchell was bowling. He said that this looks like one of the bowlers who might get me out because his deliveries are stopping but I will still go after him. These is the mindset that great players have,” added Gill.
Surprisingly enough, Rohit’s prediction almost came true. The India opener welcomed Mitchell by smashing him for three boundaries in the all-rounder’s first over itself. But in the second ball of the 21st over, Mitchell almost sent the India captain back. Rohit mistimed a ball high in the air and for a moment it looked as if the fielder at long-on would hold on to the chance. In fact, the moment, Rohit put bat to ball, Mitchell burst into a premature celebration, but his joy turned into despair when the Holkar’s small boundaries was enough to take the ball just over long-on for a 73-meter six. Rohit did however, eventually perish, but it was off an off-spinner from Michael Bracewell.