India U-19 star Shubman Gill has this dream & Virat Kohli can make it come true | cricket | Hindustan Times
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India U-19 star Shubman Gill has this dream & Virat Kohli can make it come true

Back home after a successful Under-19 Cricket World Cup campaign with India, Shubman Gill talks about his batting and about comparisons to his idol - Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli

cricket Updated: Feb 10, 2018 08:15 IST
Shalini Gupta
Shubman Gill was the highest run-getter for India at the Under-19 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand.
Shubman Gill was the highest run-getter for India at the Under-19 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand.(PTI)

Before the ICC U-19 World Cup 2018, not many were familiar with the batting prowess of Punjab’s top-order player Shubman Gill. However, his unbeaten 102 against Pakistan in the World Cup semifinals in New Zealand changed all that.

The 18-year-old Gill was not only named Player-of-the-Series for aggregating 372 runs in six matches in the tournament, he has been hailed as one of the most exciting prospects for India.

Gill’s strokeplay has been compared with that of India captain Virat Kohli.

Back in India and playing in the Vijay Hazare Trophy domestic one-day tournament for Punjab, Shubman talks about his best moment in the World Cup, comparisons with Kohli, how coach Rahul Dravid helped him and how he hopes to do well for India A and get into the India team. He also talks about landing an IPL contract with Kolkata Knight Riders and his eagerness to return home to Mohali and have his favourite home-made butter chicken and ice-cream after following a strict diet for almost two years.

Excerpts:

How do you rate your performance in the World Cup? What was the highlight for you?

We had prepared for the World Cup for two years under Rahul Dravid sir. A lot had gone into the preparations from his end and from our side. We all had dreamt to lay our hands on the World Cup. Beating Australia in the final to lift the title was a long cherished dream coming true. I am happy I could deliver for my team. Winning the World Cup was definitely special, but scoring 102 against Pakistan in crunch situation will always be close to my heart.

Your batting has been compared to Virat Kohli’s. What do you feel?

He is my idol. I think cricketers of this generation really look up to him and want to be like him. I too emulate him for his skills and fitness. I have a long way to go and I should not be compared to him. It would be great to play under him one day.

You’ve bagged a Rs 1.8 crore contract with KKR, become a crorepati at 18?

I was sleeping when the auction was going on in India. When I woke up my Whatsapp was flooded with texts about it. I was taken by surprise. KKR are one of my favourite teams. My father handles my finances, so I am not thinking about the money part yet. But yes, playing in IPL would be big for me.

Dravid has been a big influence on you since he became the U-19 team coach. How did he help you in the World Cup?

India could not have won the World Cup without him. He is a true gentleman, a brilliant coach and an inspiration. Cricketers of other teams also made it a point to say hello to him in New Zealand. He has this aura which brings out the best in others. He was instrumental in making me comfortable in New Zealand conditions. His inputs helped me build my innings. His coaching will help me in the longer run.

What roadmap have you chalked out for the coming months?

Playing Ranji Trophy matches raised my confidence. I want to deliver the goods for KKR and then aim for an India A berth. I have to be consistent and not get carried away by the hype.

You have been away from home for a month. How do you plan to celebrate the World Cup win with your family?

I’ve not been able to interact with my parents much after reaching India. After Vijay Hazare Trophy ends, I will go to my village with my parents and celebrate with my grandparents. I have already told my mother to make butter chicken when I get home. It would be wonderful to have an ice-cream too, almost after a year. I have missed ghar ka khana the most.