Shubman Gill: ‘I don’t like to hit the ball hard, I like to time it’

The Kolkata Knight Riders batsman reveals he likes to pick the length early and enjoys the ball coming on to the bat. His game, much about flow, grace and rhythm, cuts across formats.

Silken touch: Shubman Gill en route to his 65 on Friday.   -  AFP

There is this old world charm about Shubman Gill’s batting. It’s a lot about touch, timing and easing the ball through the gaps.

“I don’t like to hit the ball hard, I like to time it,” said the 19-year-old Gill in a chat with Sportstar here on Saturday. His game, much about flow, grace and rhythm, cuts across formats.

This gifted youngster with gorgeous cover-drives and flicks has run into form in the Indian Premier League (IPL) this season for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will be wary of the Gill factor ahead of the clash on Sunday.

During his 39-ball 65 as opener in the game against Delhi Capitals here on Friday, Gill countered someone like the quick and dangerous Kagiso Rabada with poise and confidence. Gill said, “I try to pick the length early and that gives me more time to get my footwork and other aspects in order. Back home in Punjab I practise against throwdowns with a plastic ball. The plastic ball really flies and you have to read the length quickly.”

And he enjoys opening the innings. “I like the ball coming on to the bat.”

‘Happy team’

Gill is relishing his time at KKR. “It is a happy team where the youngsters are given opportunities and confidence. And skipper Dinesh Karthik has a lot of ideas and is always encouraging.”

At KKR, Gill has learnt much from the legendary Jacques Kallis. “He told me not to take any pressure, play my natural game and go and bat in the middle as I do in practice.”

Read | Knight Riders ended up 10-15 runs short, admits Dinesh Karthik

Another legend Rahul Dravid has been a massive influence. “Dravid Sir spoke to me about focussing and fighting hard. It was a lot about the mental aspect of the game.”

‘Stepping stone for success’

But then, when drafted into the Indian team for the shorter format in New Zealand this year, Gill has a bit of a rough ride. “Failures make you harder and are a stepping stone for success.” he said.

A prominent member of the Dravid-coached triumphant Indian under-19 World Cup winning team in 2018, Gill believes Virat Kohli and his men will be victorious in England. “India has the depth and the balance to lift the Cup.”

Meanwhile, Gill looks forward to the CSK challenge here. The lad with the silken touch can kill the bowling softly.