Shubman Gill: 'Hadn’t imagined all this would happen so soon'

Shubman Gill credits Rahul Dravid for helping him in the transition from junior to international cricket.

Shubman Gill says one needs to match the highest standards in all aspects of the game.   -  Special Arrangement

From being the player of the series of India’s triumphant Under-19 World Cup in 2018 to being India’s latest ODI cricketer, Shubman Gill has taken a giant stride in a span of just 12 months. In between, despite not being a power-player, he played the role of the finisher for Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier Legue to precision and followed it up with a remarkable run across formats in domestic circuit and for India A.

The Punjab batsman opens up on his impressive year.

Excerpts

On the last 12 months

Life’s changed a lot in terms of the experience I am gaining, even at a higher level. Early last year, when I was preparing for the (U-19) World Cup, I would think if I do well here, it may lead to more opportunities. But I hadn’t imagined all this would happen so soon.

On his successful transition from junior to first-class cricket

Rahul [Dravid] sir has helped a lot in this transition. He is aware of what a youngster needs to do to adjust to higher levels of cricket. It’s not only about batting. Many times, you lack fitness, or the fielding standards are not up to international level. One needs to match the highest standards in all aspects of the game. He helped me realise all that. Besides, I also learnt how to handle success and failures from him. Also, at times when a youngster reaches the highest level, he starts taking it easy and doesn’t work as hard in the nets as earlier. I feel it’s important to take the additional effort in other aspects but you cannot compromise on your basic work ethic if you have to sustain at a higher level.

READ: Elated Shubman Gill eager to go out there and express himself

On dealing with distractions off the field

We try and ignore all the talk off the field. No doubt the expectations do tend to weigh on the mind at times but the moment I take the field, all those thoughts are put behind. All these faaltu ki cheezein (redundant stuff) will only pull me down, so the focus has to be on batting.

On his ODI debut

It was an overwhelming experience. When Ravi [Shastri] sir told me after the third match I would play the next one, it was a surreal feeling. To take the field with players whom you have idolized since childhood, to get the India cap from Mahi bhai, it was amazing.

On his conventional batting style

I feel every batsman has his way to score runs. At the end, what matters is the amount of runs you have scored, not how you get them. I try to score runs off every ball. In today’s cricket, it’s important to reduce the number of dot balls. If you keep rotating strike, it unsettles the bowler and the strike rate too doesn’t fall.