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Shubman Gill sweeps away strike rate posers

The batter finished with 205 runs, averaging 102.50 in India’s recent three-match ODI series versus the West Indies, where he was adjudged the Player of the Series
Shubman Gill
Shubman Gill
File Photo

Sayak Banerjee   |   Calcutta   |   Published 10.08.22, 04:17 AM

Few would question Shubman Gill’s abilities as a batsman. Some experts even consider him to be one of the best young players at present. But it’s his strike rate that seems to be a problem for him in white-ball cricket. Gill finished with 205 runs, averaging 102.50 in India’s recent three-match ODI series versus the West Indies, where he was adjudged the Player of the Series.

His strike rate in the Caribbean was also 102.50 and questions were raised from some quarters on that aspect of his game, especially on how he went about in the rain-affected third and final ODI in Port of Spain, where he had also hit a career-best 98 not out. Gill’s critics feel he should have shown more urgency.  The 22-year-old, though, doesn’t pay much attention to such questions.

“I feel questions will always be raised, but I don’t really care about what people are saying as long as I’m able to contribute to my team’s success, and as long as I am doing what my team management and my captain expect of me,” Gill, getting ready for the Zimbabwe ODIs beginning on August 18, told The Telegraph.

Gill wants to further build on his recent success with the bat so that he can be the No.1 back-up in India’s opening slot for the 50-over World Cup next year. However, Gill acknowledges that success in the West Indies does give him an edge over his peers. 

“I think it gives me kind of an edge in some way. But it will also be important for me to keep backing up these performances and keep being consistent, and keep scoring as many runs as possible for my team,” he emphasised.

Analysing his performance in the Windies ODIs, Gill said: “I’m pretty satisfied, but having said that, I wasn’t very happy with the way I got out in the first couple of matches. “Nonetheless, it was a really good experience for me overall to score those runs in the Caribbean. And yeah, getting those opportunities, too, was helpful.”

Head coach’s tips

Having Rahul Dravid as the head coach certainly bodes well for Gill as he has played under the former’s supervision in his India U-19 and India ‘A’ days. His conversations with Dravid, though, centre mainly on the mental aspect. 

“My discussions with Rahul Sir have mostly been on finding the right mindset and capitalising on the opportunities I get. It’s not that we’ve been working much on the technical side of things. It’s more on the mental side of the game,” Gill stated.

Red-ball concerns Playing as an opener in the absence of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, Gill couldn’t quite live up to expectations in the rescheduled fifth Test versus England last month, scoring only 17 and 4. But he isn’t overtly worried about his performance in red-ball cricket, saying one odd game doesn’t quite reflect the actual problem. 

“I don’t think there was any problem, and it’s also very hard to point out problems after one odd match,” he remarked, adding: “I feel it’s important for me to be able to give myself more time and more opportunities before I come to a conclusion as to where exactly the problem is.” 

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