Outside noise didn’t bother me: Shubman Gill ahead of 4th Test vs England | Cricket - Hindustan Times

Outside noise didn’t bother me: Shubman Gill ahead of 4th Test vs England

By, Ranchi
Feb 21, 2024 11:11 PM IST

India No 3 says Visakhapatnam innings felt “different” after spate of low scores.

Shubman Gill is the second-highest run accumulator for India after Yashasvi Jaiswal on this tour. But there couldn’t have been a more disparate narrative tracking the curve of India’s two youngest Test batters. Jaiswal has been an accumulator par excellence, making scoring look ridiculously easy at times. Gill has struggled, even scratched around at times but scored nevertheless. That a hundred at Visakhapatnam and 91 at Rajkot still haven’t lived up to the standards set around Gill are probably his own doing, especially in the aftermath of a blockbuster 2023 in white-ball cricket.

India's Shubman Gill addresses a press conference ahead of the 4th Test match against England, at JSCA stadium in Ranchi on Wednesday(ANI)
India's Shubman Gill addresses a press conference ahead of the 4th Test match against England, at JSCA stadium in Ranchi on Wednesday(ANI)

Eleven innings without a fifty-plus score were a reality check, but more exacting must be this tour against England where Gill was forced to come out of the shadows of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul and make his innings count. And while it hasn’t been spectacular, Gill is taking everything on his chin and learning on the go. "There is always disappointment but it was more within myself and regarding my own expectations," said Gill here on Wednesday.

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“The outside noise didn't really bother me. What's important in such situations is to make the best use of the next opportunity. You have to forget the past and just focus on the next ball. The difference between a good player and an average player is in how quickly they can forget the previous innings whether good/bad and move forward. Players who are able to do this easily are those who are great players.”

After opening in the West Indies last year and batting at No 3 here, Gill has had to adapt like no other young batter in the recent past.

“I have played for India A at No.3 and No.4 in the past and some Ranji Trophy matches as well. So, it wasn’t something that I have never done in my life,” he said. “There aren’t any technical changes I did to my game but it’s different from opening, where you don’t get that much time to think. You are fielding, toss happens and you are in the middle. While opening you are the one who sets the tone but while in the middle-order or say No.3 or No.4, you get a certain situation to bat in. There might be a situation where a couple of wickets have fallen down early and you are setting the stage. When you are opening, you are dictating the terms and play as per situation in the middle-order.”

Yet there was a time that begged the question whether Gill was driving the innings or leaving it hanging by not consolidating. It boiled down to a point where something had to give, and it did at Visakhapatnam where Gill ground his way to a resilient hundred. He, too, agreed that the circumstances in the second and third Tests were wildly different.

“In the Vizag Test, I don't think I could have played any differently even if I was calm and composed. But yes, the feeling I had in that game was different from what I had in other games. In Rajkot, the team was already in a good position when I came to bat. We were leading by 300-plus runs, so considering all that, it was a calm and composed knock."

Overall, though, there can’t be any complaints on how the Gen Next has responded to an unprecedented crisis of faith triggered by the absence of Kohli and KL Rahul.

“Yes, the absence of a player of his (Kohli’s) class makes a bit of difference. But I think Sarfaraz came in and played well,” said Gill. “So, I think players are doing well in the opportunities that they are getting. The young players have got the opportunity because Virat or Bumrah are not there. Those youngsters also know that this opportunity might not remain with them for long, so they are trying to give their best in every opportunity.”

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    Somshuvra Laha is a sports journalist with over 11 years' experience writing on cricket, football and other sports. He has covered the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, the 2016 ICC World Twenty20, cricket tours of South Africa, West Indies and Bangladesh and the 2010 Commonwealth Games for Hindustan Times.

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