Having recently won the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup against Australia, India U19 star, Shubman Gill, was eventually bagged in a lucrative IPL 2018 deal in the recent player auction by the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). After clinching India U19’s 4th World Cup title, Gill landed in Mumbai and was immediately put on a flight to Bengaluru to represent his state team Punjab in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
In between all this, Shubman Gill (READ 10 Facts about Shubman Gill) attended a felicitation ceremony in Mumbai, posed for innumerable selfies and signed a lot of autographs, owing to his recent fame in the ICC U19 World Cup, which was held in New Zealand. Adding up to his fame was the fact that the India U19 player had become such a cynosure of all eyes, that he was pulled into the Indian Premier League (IPL 2018) as well, to the Shahrukh Khan co-owned KKR.
Shubman Gill in Vijay Hazare Trophy
The pressure of being ‘someone’ in Indian cricketing circles clearly showed on Shubman Gill’s batting when he failed to make any sort of an impact in his first three games for Punjab in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. But as is the case with most champion athletes – form is temporary, class is permanent. It was only a matter of time before Shubman Gill showed his class and rose to the occasion – and so he did against Karnataka on Sunday (February 11), playing for Punjab in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
In a game that was curtailed due to a damp outfield in Alur, Shubman Gill put in a performance that not only smacked of a potential waiting to burst onto the scene but also of a player with an astute cricketing brain. It must also be noted here that the Vijay Hazare Trophy match against Karnataka was very close to being a do or die encounter for Punjab, all the more reason that Shubman Gill’s hundred and the pacing of his innings was straight out of the top drawer.
The 19-year-old batsman was watchful at the beginning of his cricket innings and was particularly cautious against Karnataka skipper R Vinay Kumar, taking just 7 runs off his 31 deliveries. Gill did not unduly panic when runs weren’t flowing for him. He put his head down, put a price on his wicket and ensured he cashed in soon after by displaying excellent cricket. By the time the spinners came in, Shubman Gill had his eye in and entered a more free-flowing phase.
Reflecting on his cricket match-winning knock in Punjab’s recent Vijay Hazare clash against Karnataka, Shubman Gill said, as reported by Cricbuzz,
“I just wanted to back myself at that moment. Mandeep and I were thinking we should face the first 10 overs, which was the difficult phase, and then take it from there. I had the belief in myself that if I play till the first drinks break, then I can score easily after that.”
“Over a period of time I’ve developed the trait of making sure I play till the end and not play fancy shots after getting in. With the match starting at 9, it was important to see off the pacers. It’s a lot more easier to rotate strike when the spinners were on. I think the wicket was helpful for the pacers, not so much for the spinners. I practice the shots, like stepping down the wickets and then the pull and cut shots. My father has been my coach. He taught me things like stepping down to the spinners,” the cricket talent further added.
Shubman Gill’s was an innings that big international players often pride themselves on. There was no aimless slogging and there was no smashing a weak attack to smithereens either. It was a well planned innings where he adapted beautifully and when he found scoring tough, he grit his teeth and fought it out.
Playing cricket in IPL 2018 for KKR the step for Shubman Gill
Having excelled and shone at the U19 level for his country, Shubman Gill had to show that he belonged at a bigger stage and was capable of taking his game to the next level, which is the Indian Premier League (IPL 2018). After a slightly faltering start in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, Gill certainly showed that the junior World Cup was just the beginning and that he is here to stay for a long time in cricket.
Life has been so hectic for the young batsman that his family has flown to Bengaluru to spend time and be with Shubman Gill. Going from being an exciting young prospect in his native Punjab to a World Cup winner just over a month has been an entirely new journey for Gill and his parents. As is always the case with any young cricket prodigy in India, Shubman Gill is now someone on whom everyone’s eyes are now trained on, not just for the Vijay Hazare, but even for the upcoming season the Indian Premier League (IPL 2018).