During this year’s ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand, Shubman Gill had impressed one and all with his stellar batting show. The 18-year-old had finished the showpiece event with 372 runs to his name and was rightly adjudged Player of the tournament, which the Boys in Blue clinched by beating Australia in the final.
Following the stellar Under-19 World Cup campaign, Shubman fetched an IPL contract with Kolkata Knight Riders for INR 1.80 crores. Playing at different batting positions for KKR, Gill finished the season with 203 runs at an average of 33.83.
And now after the culmination of IPL 2018, Shubman is considered among the brightest of emerging players. Moreover, he has also earned himself an India A call-up for the tri-series in England, involving Windies A and England Lions as other teams.
In his recent interview with Hindustan Times, Shubman Gill reflected on his maiden IPL 2018 campaign, saying: “This was a whole new experience for me. Like I said, the last match I played, I was never in a situation like this (before) where you need 19 runs off an over and everyone’s just counting on you. But I got to know a lot of new things like there’s so much pressure while you’re fielding and you have to take each and every ball very seriously. Also, I made a lot of new friends.”
“It was good. Was expecting a lot of pressure from the franchise but our franchise seems to be one of the nicest ones. I’ve heard a lot from other guys that there’s a lot of pressure from other franchises (on their players). But it was never anything like that from Shah Rukh (Khan) sir, Venky (Mysore) sir or Jay Mehta sir. It was always good from their side,” he added.
Prior to the start of IPL 2018, most of the cricket fans and experts had written KKR off considering their inexperienced squad. However, the Dinesh Karthik led side proved their doubters wrong by finishing the league stage as No. 3 team, having won 8 out of their 14 matches. KKR also went on to play the eliminator against Rajasthan Royals and the second qualifier against Sunrisers Hyderabad, which they lost.
“It feels very good. We weren’t the favourites at the start. Nobody was expecting us to do this well because it wasn’t a star-studded team. But we had a very good combination of overseas and young players. And we did really well, I think. Also, how DK Bhai (Dinesh Karthik) captained the side was really good,” Gill remarked.
Talking about his selection for the India A side, the Punjab born batsman said: “Of course it’s a very big opportunity for me. Last time I went to England, I did pretty well and I hope I’ll do well on this (tour) as well. This is like a new start for me. Hopefully, if I do well, I might get chance in the main England series as well.”
Gill also revealed the tips he received from the legendary Rahul Dravid after the triumphant Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand.
“After the World Cup, Rahul sir had a one-on-one talk with each individual for 30 minutes. And he asked me ‘Are you ready to deliver that particular knock on that particular day?’ I think it’s very important to be mentally ready and prepared. At this level, every batsman is ready to play shots. But it’s about how consistent you are and how much you believe in yourself (that takes you a step forward),” Shubman Gill concluded.