IND v ENG 2024: “When people from outside talk…,” Shubman Gill opens up on his extended rough patch

Shubman Gill regained his form in the second Test against England at Vizag.

Shubman Gill | BCCIIndia batter Shubman Gill was under severe scrutiny as he entered the five-Test series against England with a string of low scores.

Before this series, Gill had batted eight Test innings at No. 3 position without scoring a single fifty. He also endured failures in the first three innings against England.

Just when the pressure was mounting on him, Shubman produced a gritty hundred (104) in the second innings of Vizag Test to script India’s 106-run victory.

The right-hander followed it up with a stunning 91 in the second essay of Rajkot Test, enabling India’s 434-run victory that also gave them a 2-1 lead in the series.

Shubman Gill's return to form can be attributed more to his mental approach than any changes to his technique.

"It is a bit tough (living up to his own expectations). When people from outside talk about all those things, it did not make much difference to me. But the expectations that I kept on myself made me a bit disappointed," Gill said in a press conference ahead of the fourth Test, starting on February 23 in Ranchi.

"You will definitely have some expectations on you as to how you want to play for the team, the country. But I don't think that has changed my mindset. I still have the same set of expectations for myself.

"It is all about how you are able to forget them and move on quickly and be ready for the next challenge. That is the difference between a big player and an average player," he added.

After Cheteshwar Pujara’s ouster from the side, Shubman Gill was given the chance to bat at No. 3 in Tests last year but he couldn’t produce impressive results for 11 straight innings.

Gill acknowledged that batting at No.3 presented him with a different challenge even though he had batted in that slot in domestic matches earlier.

"I have batted at No. 3 and No. 4 for India A and in some Ranji Trophy matches, and as such, it was not something that I have never done in my life. There are not many technical changes that I had to make to my game.

"But it is different when you open the innings because you don't get that much time to think as you are going right in after the toss. You are the one who is setting the tone."

Gill said playing in the middle-order made it mandatory for him to bat as per the situations.

"But when you bat at three or four, there is a certain situation that you have to bat at. If a couple of wickets have fallen early, then you are setting the stage. When you are opening then you are dictating the terms, but in the middle-order you will be playing according to the situations."

The stylish right-hander offered the examples of Vizag and Rajkot Tests to validate his point.

"I would not have played any differently even if I was feeling any calm or composed (in Vizag). But definitely, what I was feeling at Vizag was a bit different from what I was feeling in the earlier matches for India (in terms of the match situation).

"But in Rajkot, the situation was different, we were in a very good position, leading by some 300 runs. So, keeping that in mind, it was a much calmer and composed innings."

Indian batters' failure to pile up big scores was a major reason behind their defeat in the series opener in Hyderabad.

Gill admitted that there was a talk in the dressing room about converting the starts into big knocks.

"If you look at the first Test, a lot of players had got the starts. They played almost 50 balls and there were 80s and 90s. All the batsmen had the opportunity to make a big score but unfortunately, they did not get a big one.

"So, we had a chat and the point was if a batsmen get set and make a big score like 150 or 200, then it makes a big difference to us and the opposition. It will be good to score runs in the first innings because in India batting gets tough in fourth or fifth day," he remarked.

(With PTI Inputs)


By Salman Anjum - 21 Feb, 2024

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