India vs New Zealand: ‘There is no fight’ - Shubman Gill on competition with Prithvi Shaw for opener’s slot
Young India batsman Shubman Gill insists there is no fight for the opener’s slot with fellow youngster Prithvi Shaw in the upcoming two-match Test series against New Zealand starting February 21. In the absence of injured Rohit Sharma and with KL Rahul not included in the 15-member squad, there is a spot open at the top along side Mayank Agarwal.
Shubman believes whoever get the opportunity will try to make the most of it and there is no fight between him and Shaw as it is the team management’s headache to decided the playing XI.
“Obviously, our careers started at the same time but there is no fight as such,” Gill told reporters ahead of the practice match against New Zealand XI.
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“Both of us have done well in our positions. It’s up to the team management, who they will play. It’s not as if there is a fight. Whoever gets the chance will try to make the most of the opportunity and not let it go waste,” he added.
Earlier, out-of-favour India spinner Harbhajan Singh had opined that Gill should open the innings in place of Shaw as he was included in the team as a reserve opener.
Shubman is also going through a rich vein of form as he recently scored 83 and 204 for India A while playing in the middle order in the first unofficial Test against New Zealand A. He then slammed a century while opening the innings in the next match.
“Shubman should get his chance since he has been part of the team (as reserve opener) for quite a while without playing any Test match,” Harbhajan was quoted as saying by PTI.
While Shaw is a natural opener, Gill is looking to adapt to the position. But the batsman says that it isn’t very challenging and he can do the job.
“It was nothing new to me when I was asked to open the innings. When you go at No. 4, already, you are two wickets down. That’s a different scenario, a different pressure game. When you are opening the innings, you have to set the game for the whole team. That’s a different thing. And when you are opening the innings, you have to set the base for the other batsmen coming in so that it will be easy for them,” he said.
Gill pointed that even as a middle-order batsman, one needs to be careful about the second new ball. “...because you are playing at a certain flow and the ball isn’t swinging that much. When they take the new ball, you have to be a little more cautious than you were before,” he said.
The batsman feels that while people talk of pitch conditions, breeze could be an important factor as well. “Wind (Breeze) factor is very important, especially when you are batting. The bowlers do a lot of planning depending on the breeze. It was not that easy to consistently pull and hook the ball (in windy conditions during the ‘A’ series),” he revealed.
India will take on New Zealand XI in a three-day practice match before the first Test in Wellington starting February 21. The second Test is scheduled to be played in Christchurch starting February 29.
((With agency inputs))