India summon another rising batting star to New Zealand for ODI series

Ross Houston
January 14, 2019

There is an uncanny similarity in the way Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli play some of their shots. Thus, when he received his maiden call-up to the Indian team for the upcoming ODI and T20I series in New Zealand, the 19-year-old's joy knew no bounds.

This time previous year, Gill was on his way to becoming Man of the Tournament in India's victorious Under-19 World Cup run. "He would often hire the labours to throw balls and give me batting practice", Gill recalled. "My preference is the opening slot but if I am given an opportunity in the middle-order, I will try and maximise that chance".

Pandya and Rahul's recent appearance on Indian talk show "Koffee with Karan", during which the former detailed how he bragged to his parents about losing his virginity, created a storm in their homeland. In the ongoing Ranji Trophy, Gill has been nothing short of Bradmanesque. "The Ranji season so far has been great for me".

Shubman had first hogged limelight when he made a world-record 587-run partnership with Nirmal Singh in Punjab and scored 351 runs in Punjab U-16 tournament. "Grinding it out in domestic cricket has improved my game enormously", said Gill. The selectors, who are looking at Shubman Gill as the reserve opener said that Rahul Dravid feels Gill is ready for global cricket. "I was just going to sleep and suddenly at around 1 AM, I got messages from reporters saying that I've been selected". Generally, I go to bed at 10.30 pm, but was awake till 1am on Saturday night when I got a call. For the first few seconds, I was in a state of shock. The youngster was named the man of the tournament in ICC U-19 World Cup in New Zealand, where he scored 372 runs in six matches and was the second-highest scorer.

Possessing a penchant for scoring the big hundreds at a fair clip, Gill has already slammed 1529 runs in 36 List A games at an average of 47.78 with seven fifties and four hundreds.

I regularly discuss the progress of the players with Ravi and Rahul. He understands my batting really well. Between that and his imminent trip to New Zealand as part of the senior team, the top-order batsman showed he could also play finisher, even on a stage as big as the IPL, and has built a first-class record so good that he's about to become an worldwide cricketer almost 14 months after making his first-class debut.

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