NEW DELHI: When the selectors sit down to pick the India squad for the 2023 ICC ODI World Cup, scheduled to be held in India, Shubman Gill will in all probability be one of the first-choice picks.
The 23-year-old’s game is modelled perfectly for ODIs and Tests and it is very good to see him not being pushed into T20Is, despite him being a regular in the IPL. He is yet to play a T20I match.
The tournament that someone like Shubman will be eyeing the most right now is of course the next edition of the ODI World Cup next year.
India last won the 50-over World Cup in 2011 under Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s captaincy. India were co-hosts of that edition along with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Shubman, who is currently part of the Indian team which is playing South Africa at home in the three match ODI series, is trying to leave nothing to chance to be able to don the national colours for his World Cup debut in the 50-over showpiece event next year. He is eagerly waiting to live his ‘World Cup dreams’.
Shubman Gill. (AFP Photo)
“Exciting times lie ahead. I am really looking forward to it (playing the ODI World Cup next year). As a player I can just give my best and hope that I am part of the team,” Shubman told Timesofindia.com in an exclusive interview.
In the current series against the Proteas though he is yet to fire, having scored 31 runs in 2 innings so far. He will be hoping he gets a big score in the series decider in Delhi on October 11.
In the second ODI played on Sunday in Ranchi, Gill was looking good, having struck 5 quick boundaries, but was sent back by Kagiso Rabada for a 26 ball 28.
Since making his ODI debut in 2019 against New Zealand in Hamilton, the 23-year-old has featured in 11 ODIs and scored 530 runs at a very impressive average of 58.88. He has one century and three fifties under his belt so far in One Day cricket.
Shubman Gill. (AFP Photo)
2022 in fact has been the year that has seen Gill become a regular in the Indian ODI set-up. The World Cup year has seen different Indian teams being fielded for different series and Gill, who cemented his place in the Indian Test team (11 Tests since his debut in December 2020) is a regular feature in the Indian ODI teams as well now.
After playing just 3 ODIs in three years (2 vs New Zealand in 2019 and 1 vs Australia in 2020) since his ODI debut, Shubman has played 8 ODIs so far in 2022 and scored 481 runs at an average of 80.16.
His three ODI fifties and one century, which he notched up against Zimbabwe (130 off 97 balls), were all scored in 2022. He also missed out on a century against the West Indies in Port of Spain on India’s tour of the Caribbean and USA earlier this year, when he scored an unbeaten 98 off as many balls in the rain-truncated match to help India register a resounding 119-run win (D/L method).
Shubman also bagged two Man of Match awards on that tour.
“I would love to be a part of any World Cup team, be it for the T20 World Cup or the ODI World Cup. I just want to keep performing the way I have been. I am looking forward to it (being a part of the Indian ODI World Cup squad),” the 23 year old from Fazilka in Punjab further told TimesofIndia.com.
“It has been a childhood dream of mine to wear the Indian jersey and score as many runs for the country as I can. I am really thankful that I am able to do that. Whenever I go out to the middle, I have one aim and that is to put as many runs on the scoreboard as possible and win matches for my team,” Shubman, who also has an average of almost 31 in Test cricket, told TimesofIndia.com.
LEARNING FROM SHIKHAR DHAWAN
Shubman is often seen chatting with his opening partner and ODI captain Shikhar Dhawan in the middle.
Interestingly Dhawan has featured in all the 11 ODIs Shubman has played so far in his career. Shubman has opened the batting with Dhawan on 7 occasions.
Overall the Shubman-Shikhar combination has registered 601 runs in ODIs in 10 innings overall so far, including the seven times they have opened the batting for India in, at an average of 66.77. The duo has also put on 100-plus stands thrice in ODIs so far.
Shubman Gill and Shikhar Dhawan. (AFP Photo)
Overall, Shubman has played 5 ODIs in which Shikhar has been India captain and scored 236 runs in those games, at an average of 59.00, including 2 fifties.
“I really like playing and opening with Shikhar bhai. He is a senior pro. I always discuss things regarding batting and shots in the middle with Shikhar bhai. He is so helpful. I enjoy opening the batting with him. He is always there to guide me. No matter what I ask him about batting, he is happy to answer all questions. He is a wonderful person and cricketer….Whenever I hit a good shot, he comes and praises me,” Shubman told TimesofIndia.com.
THE COUNTY STINT
The one thing that has really stood out about Shubman in his fledgling international career so far is how he has steadily become better with the bat and also gained a lot of confidence overall as a cricketer. It’s evident now from his body language on the field that he is really enjoying his time as an Indian cricketer.
So when the opportunity to play county cricket for Glamorgan knocked on his door, he accepted the challenge head on, again with a lot of confidence.
He started off with a brilliant 92 vs Worcestershire and then went on to smack 119 off 139 balls vs Sussex.
𝗖𝗘𝗡𝗧𝗨𝗥𝗬!!!Shubman Gill makes a maiden Glamorgan century 👏👏👏123 balls, 12 fours, 2 sixes. Well batted, Shubman!… https://t.co/uLCl4kjy3I— Glamorgan Cricket 🏏 (@GlamCricket) 1664273260000
The 23-year-old is only the third Indian to play for Glamorgan. Former India cricketer and Head Coach Ravi Shastri (1987-91) and former India captain Sourav Ganguly (2005) have also played for Glamorgan.
“It was an incredible experience (playing county cricket). Playing in different conditions, especially overseas has helped my game. County cricket has helped me a lot. I got to learn a lot. The county experience is helping me take my game to the next level,” Shubman signed off.