Some rust, exquisite timing and hydration breaks – Shubman Gill nets for an hour ahead of return against Pakistan

Photo: Debasis Sen/RevSportz

Subhayan Chakraborty at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad

When India emerged to train at the cavernous Narendra Modi Stadium on the eve of the most anticipated game of this World Cup, all eyes were Shubman Gill, especially after Rohit Sharma, the captain, had announced that he was “99 per cent available for the game against Pakistan”. Gill had missed India’s two opening matches after being laid low by dengue fever in the days leading up to the opening game in Chennai.

As he stepped into the nets, three net bowlers joined Mohammed Shami to challenge Gill. This group of bowlers included one left-arm pacer, one left-arm orthodox spinner, and a right-arm off-spinner. The initial moments in the nets saw Gill facing a challenging left-arm orthodox spinner who managed to beat him with the very first delivery. However, with every passing ball, Gill’s timing and confidence improved.

Photo: Debasis Sen/RevSportz

In an adjacent net, Virat Kohli, flanked by Dayanand Garani and Nuwan – the throwdown specialists – focused on his practice session. R Ashwin soon partnered with Shami to take on Gill and as the session progressed, the sound of his precise timing started to resonate within the practice arena, though he was occasionally beaten by the net bowlers.

Kohli too faced Shami, Ashwin, and the two local bowlers. He exhibited remarkable timing, while Shami was at his best, challenging Gill and Kohli on multiple occasions.

After an intense 20-minute session, Gill took a short drinks break. As the evening wore on, Gill returned to the practice nets to challenge himself further. This time, he faced two left-arm orthodox spinners, whose deliveries were not as friendly as he had hoped. Gill appeared a bit rusty in this final session.

Photo: Debasis Sen/RevSportz

In total, Gill spent approximately an hour in the nets, following on from an hour of practice on Thursday before spending some time taking slip catches in the main ground. His effort and determination to were clearly visible, and it was likely that he would make a comeback to the Indian playing XI.

While Ravindra Jadeja and Shami honed their skills in the nets, the rest of the Indian players, including Kohli, Gill, Ashwin, Shreyas Iyer and Rohit decided to engage in a quick and spirited game of foot volley. This light-hearted activity got the adrenaline flowing and brought forth a few laughs before they got down to the serious business.  

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