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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

India vs England, 4th Test Day 4: Guide and mentor, Shubman Gill comes of age

For Gill, this has been a series where he has had to as­sume a bigger role owing to the unavailability of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul

Sayak Banerjee Ranchi Published 27.02.24, 07:33 AM
Fans in Ranchi celebrate after India’s series win  with a Test to go.

Fans in Ranchi celebrate after India’s series win with a Test to go. PTI

Seniority also brings along with it greater responsibilities. Such a responsibility lay with Shubman Gill on Monday at the JSCA International Stadium, especially after India lost half their side all of a sudden to slump to 120/5 from a commanding 84 without loss.

Shoaib Bashir was utilising whatever assistance that was on offer from the surface to drag England back into the contest. But neither he nor Tom Hartley could breach the Gill wall.

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Together with the mighty impressive Dhruv Jurel (39 not out), Gill (52 not out) took India home in the fourth Test as the five-wicket victory also sealed Rohit Sharma and Co. the series with an unassailable 3-1 lead.

Man of the Match Dhruv Jurel (right) with Shubman Gill after the pair || took India to series victory, winning the fourth Test against England 1 in Ranchi on Monday.

Man of the Match Dhruv Jurel (right) with Shubman Gill after the pair || took India to series victory, winning the fourth Test against England 1 in Ranchi on Monday. PTI

Coming in after the fall of Yashasvi Jaiswal much ag­ainst the run of play, Gill had his task cut out, being the only specialist batter remaining in the line-up then with some experience following the dismissals of skipper Rohit Sharma, the faltering Rajat Patidar, Ravindra Jadeja and Sarfaraz Khan. Those 72 more runs India required to win the Test on Day IV did seem like more than a 100 at that stage.

For Gill, this has been a series where he has had to as­sume a bigger role owing to the unavailability of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul. Scores of 104 and 91 in the previous two Tests underlined his contribution to India’s victories, but this was a trickier situation on a tricky wicket.

Fortunately for India, Gill, whose status was that of a seasoned campaigner, rose to take on the mantle of an “elder statesman”. Resolute in defence, he was determined not to give his wicket away and guided newcomer Jurel, helping the keeper-batter playing only his second Test to stay calm when the latter did show signs of nerves early in his innings, like mistiming an aerial off-drive that fell inches short of the fielder at backward point.

Jurel’s temperament and composure certainly stood out in this Test. Without his first-innings score of 90, the scoreline could well have been 2-2 going into the final match in Dharamsala. But the scenario Jurel came across on Monday was a completely different one, leaving aside the fourth-innings wicket.

Gill’s presence of mind, his focus on rotating the strike and making Jurel do the
same reflect the No.3 batsman’s growth in terms of his maturity.

“Shubman always had the talent. Prior to this series, he was going through just a rough patch, which happens to all batters.

“But this innings showed how far he has matured
and his willingness to graft it out during a really tough time and show character,” former national selector Devang Gandhi said.

Work on technique

Questions have often been raised about Gill’s technique in red-ball cricket. He did
try to sort it out during his stint at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore early last year.

“It was around 12 months ago that Shubman spent quite some time here to work on his technique. The areas of focus were his front-foot defence and narrowing the gap between his bat and pad, which had brought about several of his dismissals in Test cricket,” an insider at the NCA told The Telegraph.

Gill seems to have reaped the benefits in this series. On Monday, none of the English bowlers could sneak even one ball through between his bat and pad.

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