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.
Consequently, he earned himself an India ‘A’ call-up for the tri-series in England, involving West Indies A and England Lions as other teams. During the England tour, Gill amassed the scores of 86, 37, 58*, 72 and 20 in five List A games.
In his recent interview with Hindustan Times, Shubman Gill reflected on his journey from U-19 cricket to the senior level, saying: “For me the transition from U-19 World Cup to T20 (IPL) and then to ODIs in England was not that difficult. The mental preparation and getting used to the conditions well in advance helped a lot. And when you have a mentor like Rahul Dravid, every challenge becomes worth taking on. His contribution has been enormous in shaping my game. He is the best thing that has happened to me.”
“Post the U-19 World Cup, I have had a chance to play alongside cricketers like Dinesh Karthik and then seeing Chris Gayle and others from close quarters have been a learning curve. Now I need to deliver in the domestic tournaments to get to next level,” he added.
Talking about his rivalry with Prithvi Shaw, who captained the India U-19 team to World Cup triumph earlier this year, Gill replied: “Not at all. We are like brothers. He does his job and I do mine. And when we do well, we congratulate each other too.”
Shubman Gill, who was recently selected in India ‘B’ team for the quadrangular series involving India ‘A’, India ‘B’, South Africa ‘A’ and ‘Australia A’, also harbours the dream of making it to the senior squad for next year’s World Cup.
“I remember bursting crackers right after Dhoni hit that six to seal the win for India against Sri Lanka in the final. That World Cup win was enough to ignite that passion in me. My mission had started back then. It was memorable to be part of U-19 World Cup winning team in New Zealand. Now the dream is to be part of Indian team for 2019 World Cup,” he asserted.
Gill has often termed Virat Kohli as his idol and he is keen to put all the hard yards like his hero to represent the country.
“He captained India to U-19 World Cup win in 2008 and is now leading the country. He never lost his focus. I also look up to his achievements and hard work,” Shubman Gill concluded.