Shubman Gill speaks softly and to the point - a sharp contrast to his aggressive, never-say-die attitude on the field.
The 23-year-old does not express his emotions and despite scoring his second Test century - first on home soil - on Saturday, he remained calm and composed while addressing the media after the day’s play.
However, that’s not the Gill you saw on the field. When he hit Nathan Lyon for a six or took Cameron Green to the cleaners, the youngster clearly wasn’t afraid of taking challenges, despite the sweltering conditions.
“On wickets like these, it is a little difficult to score runs fluently, but it’s always important to keep trying to be positive and aim for those singles. That’s what I was trying to do,” Gill said.
In his 353-minute stay at the crease, Gill put up three 50-plus stands - with captain Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli - to keep India in the game, and he admitted that he could play with a straight bat through the mid-wicket because of constant training.
“It’s one of those shots which you automatically develop once you play the bouncers and I used to practice playing bouncers with a plastic ball on a cemented surface. The balls that were a little fuller, it (the shot) kind of developed as I practised it over and over again and it was more instinctive than anything else,” he said.
After Rohit’s dismissal, Gill forged a decisive 247-ball 113 stand, ensuring there was no slip-up. The two spoke every now and then on how to hang in there and not lose wickets.
“There wasn’t much help for the bowlers and they got some big runs and scored 480, so it was important for us to not lose many wickets and just bat them out the whole day…”
With the temperatures soaring to 32 degrees, it’s not easy to brave the scorching sun and bat on. “You need to tell yourself that things are going well. In the middle, there were times when the boundaries had dried up for a while, and in that phase, I had to control myself and understand that it’s just one of those phases,” he said.
“And then, if you stick to your process, you end up hitting a couple of boundaries in an over. It’s a process to not lose your patience in challenging situations. At times, you do lose patience but it all depends on the situation and where your team is placed at…”
After a promising start to his Test career against Australia at the fag end of 2020, Gill failed to convert starts and was in and out of the side. When things looked difficult, he had to step back and do some assessment.
“In between, there came a phase when I scored just 40s and 50s. Despite being settled, I was becoming over-defensive and was putting a lot of pressure on myself in a bid to convert the start. That was not my game. So, I had to tell myself that when I get settled, I should not get out playing on the defensive because it was not my original game. I decided not to put additional pressure…”
That move paid off as he scored 110 in the second essay of the first Test against Bangladesh in Chattogram in December last year. That boosted his confidence and overcoming the disappointment in Indore in the previous fixture, Gill stepped up and scored a ton when it mattered most. After all, by his own admission, Test cricket “is all about spending as much time as possible in the middle”.
- India kits at Asian Games 2023: What do the patterns on the Indian jerseys signify?
- Manchester United goalkeeper Earps wins England Women’s Player of the Year
- Southee to undergo thumb surgery, ODI World Cup decision next week
- England’s Root to get ODI World Cup practice against Ireland
- Asian Games 2023: Indian debutants to watch out for at Hangzhou