Shubman Gill remembers Dravid’s ‘challenge’

After two indifferent scores in his first two youth One-Day Internationals, India’s Shubman Gill was given a useful ‘challenge’ by Rahul Dravid that yielded immediate results.

Shubman Gill top scored in the ODI series against England in July last year.   -  PTI

Recollecting an intervention from Rahul Dravid in his career, India’s U-19 batsman Shubman Gill acknowledged a useful advice that helped him garner success in the youth One-Day International format. In his nascent yet thriving career so far, Gill enjoys an average of 97.12 in youth ODIs, and has a century and a fifty in two first-class matches for Punjab.

In an interview with ICC, Gill talks about a ‘challenge’ set by Dravid after he had got out lofting the ball in the air in his first two ODIs, against England at home. “He [Dravid] came and told me that, ‘you are such a good striker of the ball, why do you want to hit the ball in the air?’ So he gave me a challenge in the next two matches to not score any runs with aerial shots, and I got a hundred in the next two matches. He was like, ‘see, you can score so much on the ground, why do you need to hit it in the air?’”, Gill remembered.

Read - Dravid's message for the Colts: 'Figure out yourself'

Gill may have ensured considerable success in his career so far, but rules out the possibility that his journey had been smooth. He said he was frustrated to have missed out on making his India A debut due to a side strain. The two-month wait was fruitful, however, as at the end of the break he made a successful first-class debut for Punjab in November, 2017.

‘Frustrating’ wait

“I got selected for India A but I wasn’t able to go because I had a side strain, a muscle tear, and that time was really frustrating for me because I was missing my Ranji games, I was missing my India A games so I really had to push myself, keep motivating myself, saying ‘ok this will go, this will go’. But it’s just the start of my career, maybe if I had played at that time I would not have been able to play this World Cup,” Gill said.

Read - Dravid on U-19 World Cup: 'Focus is on team, not individuals'

Gill attributed his interest in carving out a cricket career to three of India’s erstwhile batting stalwarts - Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and V. V. S. Laxman. “I loved watching these three players, and I used to copy them when I was little, I used to throw balls at the wall and hit drives how they used to hit them,” Gill said.

Gill is set to feature in the U-19 World Cup that begins on Saturday in New Zealand. He is among the 13 players named in the India squad.