Can Shubman Gill replace Rohit as India captain? Ex-selector's surprising answer: ‘He’ll be a batting legend but…'
Can Shubman Gill take up that challenge of becoming India captain at the age of 23? Ex-national selector answers.
Shubman Gill is fast developing into an all-format batter for India, a quality that is rare in modern-day cricket. His rapid rise in the last 12 months or so has made pundits believe that he can be an heir to Virat Kohli, who still is a match-winner for India but appears to have just left his best as an all-format player behind him. At a time when India captain Rohit Sharma is not getting any younger and there has been no clear vice captain candidate ever since KL Rahul's form faded away, the questions about India's next line of leadership have naturally started to gain momentum.
Can Gill take up that challenge? He is only 23 but he has already shown signs of being a pillar in the Indian batting line-up. Virat Kohli was 25 when he became India's Test captain but by then of course, he was a World Cup winner, a Champions Trophy winner, a T20 World Cup finalist and an establishment in Tests, ODIs and T20Is.
Former national selector, Bhupinder Singh Sr, who served from 2005 to 2008 and is someone who has seen Gill's rise from age group cricket, feels it would be a tad early to burden the right-hander with captaincy. Bhupinder said Gill has the potential to become a "batting legend" for India and of course, he can also turn out to be captaincy material but maybe not now.
“I will not rush him at this juncture because we want to see him as the next batting legend of the country. If things go well, which I am sure will, he can be the next batting sensation from this country. He has that game, aura and personality. In that process, later on, we can see him develop as a good captain also," he told Hindustan Times.
Gill who has had a fantastic start to his ODI and T20I careers, hasn't quite been able to replicate the same dominance in Test cricket yet but his 91-run knock at the Gabba or his patient century last year in Bangladesh have done enough to give rise to hopes.
Bhupinder said a captain has to be a certainty in the XI as you don’t want a situation where the captain drags the side down. “First thing is he should hold his place in the team whatever format you are picking him for. You are sure that for the next couple of years he will not be a liability in the team. The captain has to be able to pull his weight in the team," he added.
India's side for the West Indies Test series is yet to be announced but Gill is certain to open the batting with captain Rohit Sharma. And the two Tests in the Caribbean islands will be another big opportunity for Gill to stamp his authority in red-ball cricket after the disappointments of the WTC final against Australia.
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