India have had a plethora of young players bursting onto the scene, but Shubman Gill from Punjab has won many admirers and has been subject to a lot of plaudits from cricketing pundits.
The team’s exit from the semifinals of the recently concluded Cricket World Cup has prompted critics to sling mud at a few players and the country was looking forward to the team selection towards the Tour of West Indies.
A member of the squad that won the U19 World Cup in 2018, Gill was touted to be included in the team that would be flying to the Caribbean Islands, but the selectors had other things in mind.
The youngster has admitted to being disappointed at not being picked, saying he expected to be there in at least one of the squads.
INDIA A: TOUR OF WEST INDIES
Gill, who was part of the India A squad which toured West Indies, finished the one-day series as the top run-getter with 218 runs in four matches, averaging 54.50 with a strike rate of 98.19.
The youngster was highly successful and instrumental in the team’s winning causes and showed immense flair and level-headedness in his performances.
He also hit three half-centuries in the process and was deservedly named the Man of the Series.
A second trip to the Caribbean would have been ideal for the youngster’s confidence and he could have carried on from where he had left.
Besides, a Tour of West Indies is not the most high-profile of assignments for a team with as much prowess as India possesses, and Gill was considered to be an automatic choice.
Most of his T20 career has come in the Indian Premier League for the Kolkata Knight Riders, having batted at different numbers from 1 to 7. Despite that, Gill’s average (32.31) and strike rate (132.90) have been impressive.
His IPL 2019 performance was even a slight upgrade from the season he enjoyed the previous year in the 2018 edition of the lucrative league, albeit him having hit at a faster pace in the latter.
IPL 2019 saw the 19-year old demonstrate an ardent willingness to slide through any batting position when the team needed him to. As a result of good performances down the order, he gained a promotion and duly replicated his consistent displays again.
But what might have decided the batsman’s fortunes in the recent team selection could have been Gill’s rather disappointing low-key outings in the New Zealand tour earlier this year.
The enterprising cricketer played two ODIs, though he didn’t get into double digits in either game.
“I was waiting for the Indian senior team to be announced on Sunday and I expected to be selected for at least one of the squads. It was disappointing not to get picked but I am not going to spend time thinking over it. I’ll keep scoring runs and performing to the best of my ability to impress the selectors.”
“It was a fantastic series for me and team as well since we won with a 4-1 margin. Personally, I would have liked to carry on and score at least a couple of hundreds in those fifties. But I will learn from this experience.”
“The biggest lesson that I have learned from my first West Indies tour is to try to curb my natural game depending on the match condition,” Gill said.
But while he didn’t make it to the squad, Gill was discussed at the selection meeting, with chief selector MSK Prasad saying, “He went to New Zealand when KL Rahul was suspended and now Rahul has come back so he (Gill) is in the waiting list. Definitely he will be considered in the future.”
Former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly said that he was surprised to not see Shubman Gill in the ODI squad.
In a tweet, Ganguly wrote, “There are many in the squad who can play all formats ..surprised not to see Shubman gill ..Rahane in the one-day squad”.
In his brief career, Gill has shown the potential to adapt to different formats, and found success at almost every level he has played at.
His first-class career is only nascent but he has already scored over 1000 runs. In 47 List A matches, including 17 for India A, Gill has amassed 1942 runs at an average of 47.36 and a strike rate of 87.51.
Gill’s next assignment is the three four-dayers in the Caribbean, with the first match starting on Wednesday in North Sound.
Meanwhile, India will play three T20Is, three ODIs and two Tests against West Indies, with the first T20I on August 3.