Virat Kohli is my idol, says Shubman Gill

The 18-year-old eagerly awaits his maiden stint at the glitzy Indian Premier League.

Shubman Gill was a sensation at the recent U-19 World Cup, scoring 372 runs in five innings.   -  PTI

Like many youngsters, Shubman Gill would obsessively watch Sachin Tendulkar bat, and harboured dreams of playing with the legend some day. Those dreams were shattered once he started playing the sport at a respectable level, as the Masters Blaster had decided to hang up his boots in 2013.

Shubman needed someone else to look up to for inspiration.

“After Sachin paaji quit the game, I found inspiration in Virat [Kohli]. He is my idol now,” Shubman tells Sportstar from Kolkata.

The young batsman hogged the limelight during the U-19 World Cup (which India eventually won) and has been roped in by Kolkata Knight Riders for upcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The prospect of a maiden stint in the league has got the young gun excited.

Waiting for a ‘great moment’

More than the big bucks, Shubman is interested in booking a berth in the Knights’ playing XI when it takes on Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). “It would be a great moment for me to play alongside Virat. I would like to display my batting to Virat if I make it to the final XI. That would be really good,” Shubman says with a smile.

While admitting IPL is a different ball game, Shubman is happy to have reunited with his U-19 team-mates Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi. “We have been playing for two years. We have shared a good bonding and that is certainly comforting. That would help for sure,” the stylish batsman points out.

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Having been promoted to the glitzy world of the IPL, Shubman is also looking forward to learn a thing or two from the Knights’ coach Jacques Kallis. “I want to know a few things from Kallis sir on how to improve my game. He being such a great cricketer, it would be good to hear about his experiences. I am really keeping my fingers crossed,” he says.

In the ongoing camp in Kolkata, Shubman has had opportunities of interacting with Robin Uthappa and he is flattered by the way the vastly experienced Uthappa has shared tips. “Robin paaji told me a lot of things on how to improve my game. When Dinesh paaji (KKR captain, Dinesh Karthik) comes in, I would like to learn a thing or two from him as well,” he says.

Shubman believes IPL is all about mental toughness. “The intensity is more here. When you are playing at a higher level, one has to keep the morals high and play as per situation. It is important to be mentally tough,” Shubman says.

All these attributes will be handy when he steps into what will be a big boys’ league for the 18-year-old.

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