The amount of talent available to India coming from U-19 cricket is impressive. Former England batsman Nick Knight has praised one such potential, Indian star batter, Shubman Gill. He talked about his outstanding performances in the recent series against Australia, which India won 2-1 down-under. The player was also impressive in the IPL 2021 tournament.
Earlier this year, Gill made his international debut for India against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The right-hander left an indelible impression with his shot-making with the cricket bat in particular. With 35-run first innings and undefeated 45-run second innings, he helped India to one of their most historic Test victories, but he didn’t stop there.
When India needed to score 300 or more runs on the final day of the Gabba Test, Gill top-scored with one of the most fluent efforts of his career, reaching 91. This provided instant momentum for the likes of Rishabh Pant, who went on to win the game for India. He is believed to have a promising career in the longest format, and Knight recounted how he first came across the 22-year-old at the U19 World Cup three years ago in South Africa.
Nick Knight calls Shubman Gill exceptional
It was observed by Knight that Gill has all of the available options and that his ability to play the short ball very effectively. In his own words, he remembered the first time he saw Gill in the U19 World Cup and thought he was “exceptional” solely for the quality of his shot-making. He went on to say that he has been carefully watching the Punjab-born lad’s development and was taken aback by the innings he played at the Gabba.
“This is a young man who is making his way into the Test match circuit for the first time. He has all of the shots and plays the short ball quite well. He has the potential to be a fantastic player. I make an effort not to be prejudiced. I came across him when he was playing in the Under-19 World Cup and recognised him as a very remarkable player,” Knight says in the documentary ‘Down Underdogs.
“I think it is silly to watch a game and only see one shot, one score, one cut, or four at a time. And you think to yourself, Wow, there is a special player. Sometimes you just do not know what to say. Someone, on the other hand, catches your eye for something distinctive. I first saw him as an Under-19 cricketer and then followed his career since I like travelling to India and dealing with local cricket, and the Indian Premier League (IPL) saw him progressing as a player at that time. That Test series was the first time I watched him play. I was like, WOW,” he continued.
Even though Gill has yet to score a century in a Test match for India, he still has all of the potentials in the world, and he was forced to miss the country’s tour to South Africa due to an injury. He was recently re-signed by the Ahmedabad franchise for a sum of Rs. 7 crores, only months before the IPL 2022 Mega auction.
Can the Indian opener impress in the near future?
The Indian opener was not picked from the squad for the India vs West Indies series. This makes the IPL 2022 tournament really important for him, with regards to securing a place in the upcoming T20 World Cup. There are a lot of top contenders for the slot at the top and if Gill wants to ensure that he is picked, he will have to do something special in the upcoming domestic Indian tournament.
The player was released by the Kolkata Knight Riders at the end and is now going to be part of the new Ahmedabad franchise. His aim will be to make an impact with this new team and get the fans on his side. This could work in his favour, with regards to his self-confidence and ensuring that he is able to find that berth in the Indian team.
If he fails in the upcoming tournament, then it would become really difficult for him to secure a place in the team in the next couple of years, at least in the limited format. He can surely try to take the Test route possibly still, with some veterans said to be retiring soon.