Pick up Shubman Gill’s records of the last three years, and one may find the 15-year-old riding a huge wave of run-spree.
For the Mohali batsman, who was adjudged the best under-16 cricketer in the country by the BCCI last year, has piled up a mountain of runs in every season during this period.
The latest evidence of the youngster’s prolific scoring was seen during the under-16 Vijay Merchant Trophy held a couple of months ago in Cuttack. Leading the Punjab team, Gill hammered five centuries and three half-centuries to pile on mind-boggling 1,018 runs in seven matches to be the top run-getter of the event. More importantly, one of Gill’s tons came in the final against Madhya Pradesh, which eventually guided his side to the title.
“For me, personal feats only matter if they serve the team’s cause. I am happy that my efforts helped the side lift the trophy. The win against Madhya Pradesh was significant in more than one way, as we had lost to the same opposition in the last season,” said the right-handed opener, who had also led the run-charts during his maiden appearance at the tournament last year. His 740 runs from five matches also got him the award from the BCCI.
“Winning the award has proved to be a great morale booster. The honour has only strengthened my resolve to give my best in every opportunity that I get,” added Gill, whose exploits in this year’s Vijay Merchant Trophy got him a berth on the Mohali senior team for the Punjab inter-district Twenty-20 tournament. And the lad celebrated his debut in the senior circuit by scoring 67 and 45 in his first two matches.
“Practising with Ranji players such as Manpreet (Gony) paaji and Harmeet Singh Bansal helped me prepare well for more experienced opposition bowlers. It has been a good start, and I hope to put up a better show in case more senior tournaments come my way this year,” shared Gill, a class 10th student at Manav Mangal Smart School, who also put up an impressive showing during his debut in the Dhruv Pandove Trophy inter-district under-19 tournament last year; he had scored 415 runs from three matches with the help of two centuries and one fifty.
So what exactly is the secret behind Gill’s prolific run-spree?
“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 of late, I have also been giving proper defence required importance,” said the lad, who first picked up the bat at the age of four, and was given first lessons in the sport by his agriculturist father Lakhwinder Singh.
“Eight years ago, my family shifted from our hometown in Jalalabad (Ferozepur) to SAS Nagar so that I could grow and develop as a better player with the help of better playing facilities and professional coaching. In 2011, I played my first tournament, the under-16 inter-district, and made 300 runs from five matches,” said Gill, who trains under Sukhwinder Singh Tinkoo at the Mohali Cricket Academy, and has not looked back since then.
The youngster had also triggered awe-inspired reactions last year when he had fashioned a world-record opening-wicket partnership of 587 runs with Nirmal Singh in an under-16 inter-district match played between Mohali and Amritsar. The duo bettered the previous record of 561 runs for the opening stand between Waheed Mirza and Mansoor Akhtar in the match between Karachi Whites v/s Quetta in 1977 at National Stadium, Karachi.
Speaking on his future plans, Gill says his ultimate dream is to play for the country. “This year, I am aiming to put up some fine performances in the Dhruv Pandove Trophy, as it would help me make it to the state under-19 team for the Cooch Behar Trophy. The latter can prove to be a platform through which I can stake claim to a berth in the Indian youth cricket team. My other goal is to make it to the Punjab Ranji Trophy team,” added Gill, who regards flamboyant Indian batsman Virat Kohli as his role model.