Shubhman Gill entered competitive cricket circuit only three years ago, but the prolific scoring by the SAS Nagar batsman, at both state and national level tournaments, is already the turning heads of many. It was for this reason that the 14-year-old opener was adjudged as Punjab’s best cricketer in the under-16 age-group at the annual felicitation function of the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA), last week.
The young opener was honoured specifically for his exploits in the under-16 interstate cricket tournament for the Vijay Merchant Trophy, held in December last year. It was Gill’s maiden appearance in the tournament, and he scored 740 runs from his five matches to emerge as the highest run-getter of the edition. Rs The run-spree of the right-handed batsman was studded with one double hundred, two hundreds and two half-centuries. One of Gill’s ton (101) came in the final, against Madhya Pradesh, though his effort went in vain with Punjab eventually losing by five wickets to finish runners-up.
“That hundred in the final was my most memorable knock of the tournament, though I am still disappointed that it did not come in a winning cause. However, it was a good experience overall, and I picked a lot of positives from it. I hope we lift the trophy this year, and I will again try to give my best towards the cause,” said Gill, who studies in class ninth at Manav Mangal Smart School, SAS Nagar, and is currently attending PCA’s offseason camp at Patiala.
Gill’s hunger for runs has only intensified since his exploits in the Vijay Merchant Trophy. In the ML Markan Trophy (under16 inter-district meet) held in April this year, Gill scored a mind-boggling 1, 015 runs from four matches, inclusive of one quadruple century (unbeaten 405 against Ropar), one triple century and two hundreds.
In the match against Amristar, where Gill scored 351 runs, he and his fellow opener Nirmal Singh (267) created a world record for the openingwicket partnership by clobbering 587 runs.
“We both had simply decided to play our natural game and stay at the crease as long as possible. But I had never imagined that the partnership would become a world record. It will certainly be one of the biggest moments of my cricketing career,” shared Gill, who also put up an impressive show during his debut in the under-19 Dhruv Pandove Trophy (inter-district) last month, scoring 415 runs from three matches, studded with two centuries and one fifty.
So what is the secret behind Gill’s prolific run-spreeRs
“There is no secret. I just try to concentrate on my game and stay at the crease as long as possible. I love playing aggressively, but have also been working on my defence,” said Gill, who first picked up the bat at the age of four, and was given first lessons in cricket by his father Lakhwinder Singh.
“In 2007, I shifted from my hometown in Jalalabad (Ferozepur) to SAS Nagar, and started training under coach Sukhvinder Singh Tinku. In 2011, I played my first tournament, the under-16 inter-district, and made 300 runs from five matches.”
In the successive editions of the event, Gill has always delivered on the promise his talent assures of, scoring 380 and 410 runs in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
Speaking on his future plans, Gill says his ultimate dream is to play for the country. “As for this year, I will try to continue my good form in the Vijay Merchant Trophy, and am also hoping to make it to the under-19 state team for Cooch Behar Trophy. A good performance in the U-19 inter-state event will help me get into the Indian youth cricket team,” added Gill, who regards flamboyant Indian batsman Virat Kohli as his role model.