Maiden National Call-Up for Shubman Gill

Under-19 world cup star Shubman Gill has been included in the Indian Cricket team for the ODI and T-20 International series against New Zealand. Board of Control Cricket in India (BCCI) called-up Gill and all-rounder Vijay Shankar in the team as replacements for Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul, who were suspended after their controversial remarks during a TV chat show.

Shankar was an expected replacement for Pandya but Gill’s name came as a surprise. He was an important member of the Indian team, which won the Under-19 world cup last year under the captaincy of young sensation Prithvi Shaw. 19-year- old Gill is a classical batsman who has all kind of shots in his arsenal and can adapt to different formats of the game without changing his playing style. 

Gill’s maiden call-up to the Indian senior team may have come in an unexpected situation but his performance in the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy speaks volume of his potential as a batsman. Yuvraj Singh, playing for Punjab in the Ranji trophy, also lauded the young batsman for his swashbuckling batting display in the tournament. ‘Cricinfo’ quoted Yuvraj as saying, “He (Gill) is a special talent. After a long time, there is a young guy whose batting I like to watch. He is very exciting.”  

Gill has only played nine first-class matches this season for Punjab and scored over 1000 runs with an impressive average of 77.78. In every match, he has scored at least a fifty. His most splendid inning came against Tamil Nadu after he returned from India’s A tour of New Zealand in December. Gill batted brilliantly against Tamil Nadu and score 268, following another extraordinary knock of 148 against Hyderabad. Gill believes his experience of playing in New Zealand will certainly help him on the upcoming tour. He said, “Yes, I think that will be an advantage. I am familiar with the conditions because I have just traveled there. I also played the Under-19 World Cup there last year. My only goal is that I don’t want to let the opportunity go if I get selected in the playing 11.”

BCCI preferred Gill over Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey for the New Zealand tour, as Mayank Agarwal get injured during the test series against Australia. His rapid rise through the Indian ranks is enough to make us believe that Indian batting will be in safe hands.