Shubman Gill can use T20 World Cup snub to scale greater heights

Shubman Gill. Source: RevSportz File Photo

After Sunil Gavaskar left the scene, it was Sachin Tendulkar who filled that void in more ways than one. By the time Tendulkar made an entire nation emotional, Virat Kohli was ready to take the baton from him. Now, as the shades of grey in Kohli’s beard grows exponentially, he will certainly want Shubman Gill to be ready by the time he decides to call it a day. In T20I cricket, Kohli has already stepped aside, and Gill has suggested in Zimbabwe that he wants to continue opening for India. Knowing him, one can rest assured that he is ready for all challenges. Anyone who has watched him bat in recent times will agree that he is ready to take on the mantle and dominate. 

Gavaskar was a product of his times. An India still in its youth, trying to rebuild after a fierce struggle for independence. He wanted to save his team, and then look at the options. Tendulkar happened to India at the time of economic liberalisation, and the flamboyance was a function of his age. Kohli’s generation didn’t carry the baggage of the past and showed what fearlessness was all about, and Gill belongs to an age where patience is not considered to be one of the blessed virtues. Like instant noodles, people crave immediate success, but somewhere down the line, they might just stop and applaud a talent like Gill, who will cater to this generation’s needs but at the same time not compromise on his virtues as a cricketer. 

Kohli’s innings in the T20 World Cup final was proof of what I am talking about. It wasn’t as flamboyant as Rohit Sharma’s 92 against Australia. Neither was it like Suryakumar Yadav’s innings against England. Yet, it was a match-winning knock under pressure. With India three down, you needed someone to play that way. Play conventional cricket, and accelerate at the end to take the team to a par score. Gill has such ability. He can play the big shots, and also hold back if need be. Graft and play aggressive in equal measure. Only, his time is now.
Much like Rohit has forever remembered the 2011 World Cup disappointment and used it to make amends and scale greater heights, Gill should remember 2024 as his turning point in T20 cricket. He wasn’t able to make the team, and that’s enough to give him the much-needed push. With all the talent, the endeavour should be to make 2026 his own. Be the successor to Rohit and Kohli, and take the story forward. 

Shubman Gill vs Zimbabwe
Shubman Gill vs Zimbabwe (PC: Zimbabwe Cricket)

Unimaginable money, instant stardom – an Indian cricketer’s life is always in the fast lane. Gill understands the pressures, and who better than Yuvraj Singh to give some sound advice on how to deal with stardom. “Yuvi paaji gives me a lot of advice about handling pressure, fame, and adulation,” he had once said.
In the hours that he is out there, Gill can unleash systematic carnage on any attack. If there is width outside the off stump, he would play the imperious square cut. If it is full, the cover drive can come out of the closet. And when it is dug in short, he would either slash it over point or pull it over mid-wicket. And whenever the bowlers toss the ball up, Gill with his fleet-footedness would get to the pitch of the deliveries to play either the cover drive or the on-drive. He has the full repertoire. 

Each time Gill played T20Is for India in the past, he did not exactly feel the pressure. Most would watch Kohli and Rohit. Now, they aren’t there anymore. Gill is the successor, and we all want Kohli’s heir apparent to be ready. Gill has miles to travel and many milestones to reach. He will have his share of disappointments, but from what we have over the past two IPLs, there is every reason to believe that he will achieve them all. And in doing so, he would have helped Indian cricket scale greater heights, just like Tendulkar, Kohli and Rohit did.

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