‘He can do in this World Cup what Rohit Sharma did in 2019… He wants to be next Virat Kohli’: Raina on Shubman Gill

Sep 21, 2023 02:26 PM IST

Sureash raina said the way Shubman Gill is batting, he could well end up having a World Cup like Rohit Sharma had in the last edition in 2019.

There are no prizes to guess that Shubman Gill is the next big thing in Indian cricket. Many could go as far as claiming that he already is. The right-handed opening batter, who took rapid strides in the last 12 months or so to emerge as an all-format cricketer, earned high praise from Suresh Raina ahead of the ICC World Cup 2023. The former India batter said the way Gill is batting, he could well end up having a World Cup like Rohit Sharma had in the last edition in 2019. The India captain created a World Cup record by smashing as many as five centuries in one edition. Although India faltered in the semi-finals, Rohit ended the tournament as the top run-getter with 648 runs in matches.

India's skipper Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill fist bump each other during an Asia Cup 2023 match(ICC Twitter)
India's skipper Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill fist bump each other during an Asia Cup 2023 match(ICC Twitter)

Raina did not stop there. The former swashbuckling left-hander termed Gill as one of India's most important players and said that the youngster wants to become the next Virat Kohli. "He'll be one of the most important players at the World Cup. I know that he wants to be a superstar and wants to be the next Virat Kohli and is in that aura already and after this World Cup, we will be talking about him more often. The form he's playing in with his hand speed - it's extremely strong. Spinners don't know where to bowl to him and if fast bowlers don't swing the ball, he can play those really well with a straight or a flick. His mindset will not stop here. What Rohit Sharma did in the 2019 World Cup; Gill could do the same for India this year. He'll get 50 overs to bat, so it's a takeoff point for his batting. I think he's a born leader and he shows that in his game," Raina said on JioCinema show ‘Home of the Blues: India Heroes’.

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After having a terrific 2022 in ODIs and an even better IPL 2023, Gill hit a rough patch in the West Indies tour. The stylish right-hander could not get the big scores in the ODIs and T20Is. But he made a rollicking comeback in the Asia Cup. Opening the batting for India, he hit two half-centuries and a century to end up as the tournament's top run scorer. Gill scored 302 runs in 6 innings an average of 75 and a strike rate of 93.

Gill's 121-run innings in a losing cause on a difficult Colombo pitch against Bangladesh in the last Super 4 match of the Asia Cup was easily the best knock of the tournament.

'Gill hitting fifties and hundreds comfortably'

What is heartening to see is the subtle adjustments that he has made to his batting. For instance, the extra bit of time he is giving himself against the spinners. Till last year, Gill used to commit to the spinners early and find fielders despite getting the timing right. Now, he waits a fraction longer, uses his hands to find the gaps. This helps him keep the scoreboard ticking and also to find the odd boundary in the middle overs.

“He’s been consistent for a year and a half. He struggled in the middle against West Indies, but the way he's come back and scored good runs in the Asia Cup. He is looking positive, using good footwork, and from getting out at 40 against the West Indies, he is now comfortably hitting 50s and even 100s," Raina said.

In the absence of Rohit and Kohli - both rested for the first two matches - Gill will be the undeclared leader of India's batting unit against Australia. The first ODI will take place in Mohali on Friday.

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