It was in 2018 when the batting genius of young Shubman Gill came to the fore. As the Indian U-19 side romped their way to the World Cup title, the influence of pragmatic coach Rahul Dravid, leadership skills of Prithvi Shaw and consistent batting performances of Gill were all labelled as potential reasons for the favourable outcome.
Gill had smashed a match-winning hundred and three fifties - amassing 221 runs - to be rightly adjudged the 'Player of the Tournament'. It was his feat in the U-19 World Cup that didn't just impress the cricket bigwigs but also saw him bagging a Rs 1.80-crore payout from the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the 2018 Auction.
He eventually earned his ODI debut during the One-Day Internationals (ODIs) series between India and New Zealand earlier this year. Even if he couldn't make a mark immediately in the two ODIs he played, Gill continues to improve himself in a bid to become a regular face in the Indian cricket team.
While finding a place in the star-studded Indian team is quite a task for any budding cricketer, Shubman appears to be following the right method of bolstering his case. The Punjab-born cricketer has one of the most consistent performers in domestic cricket this year. And, his artistry with the willow has also been on display on overseas A tours.
Earlier this year, the right-hander top-scored for India A during the tour of West Indies where he also became the youngest Indian to score a first-class double hundred that eventually earned him the 'Man of the Series' award. More recently, he led India A in the unofficial Tests against South Africa A, scoring 90 and 92 respectively.
Owing to his spectacular performances with the willow, Gill eventually earned him a spot in the Indian squad against the touring South African brigade in the recently-concluded Test series. But, the young gun failed to make the cut for India's playing XI.
While it has surely left the youngster disappointed, it has been a script of Shubman's rise over the years. The fact that he is so close to sealing a berth in the Indian team and yet so far, appears to have motivated him to put a stronger performance in domestic cricket. And, the ongoing Deodhar Trophy is witnessing something similar.
Shubman Gill's Classy 143 https://t.co/SSwRO2SjMn— Abhay (@AbhaySharma_1) November 1, 2019
Tasked to lead India C, Gill led from the front slamming a sensational 142-ball 143 to power his side to a formidable total of 366 against India A. Coming out to bat with Mayank Agarwal (120), Gill set the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi on fire with an absolute carnage of an innings which was laced with 10 fours and six sixes.
In what turned out to be a strokeful knock, Gill also stitched a 226-run opening partnership with Agarwal who also appeared to be in a class of his own. The duo took the India A bowling attack, which included the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin, JaydevUnadkat and Siddharth Kaul, to the cleaners to ensure there was no dip in their run-rate.November 1, 2019
Gill's batting masterclass eventually came to an end in the 47th over when his mistimed slog off Ashwin went straight down the throat Vishnu Vinod at deep midwicket. The India C captain's knock came to an end at 143 runs, but, by then, the damage was done. As Gill walked back into the hut, his team was set for a massive total and he, himself, had recorded his highest individual score in List A cricket, surpassing his previous best of 123* in the Vijay Hazare Trophy last year.
Thanks to Gill's captain's knock, Suryakumar Yadav's 29-ball 72 and a seven-wicket haul from JalajSaxena, India C romped to a massive 232-run triumph in their opening match. But, it was Gill who garnered the limelight for his masterful innings yet again and bolstered his case for Team India selection, especially when the selectors are looking to build a strong squad for the ICC World T20 in Australia next year.