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Shubman Gill: The Crowned Prince
May 25, 2023, 5:52:00 AM

Shubman Gill: The Crowned Prince

Cricket people gush about the aesthetics of left-handers for reasons that need to be fully clear. Left-handed cover drives are better, or left-handed late cuts are more languid. Shubman Gill is the right-handed version of a left-hander. 

It does not very often that a King Kohli extraordinary century gets overshadowed in a match, but that’s precisely what happened as Gujarat Titans’ Shubman Gill scored a stunning century to knock RCB out of the Playoffs race. Chasing 198, Gill displayed some scintillating shots as he kept GT going despite losing a few wickets toward the end. The opener completed his century in 52 balls with a six down the ground, leading Gujarat to victory.

Since making his name at the 2018 U-19 World Cup for India, Shubman Gill has elevated his game to the next level, breaking records for fun. Following his special knock against RCB, Gill became the youngest player to notch up 25 fifty-plus scores in T20 cricket history.

At 23 years old, Gill has smashed 25 scores of 50 or more in T20s. Pakistan's Ahmed Shehzad (24 years and 75 days old) held the record previously.

It has been a year to remember for Shubman Gill so far. After scoring hundreds in each of the three formats for India before the IPL 2023, he also continued his rich vein of form in the T20 tournament.

Gill, who has smashed 722 runs at an average of 55.84 this season, has also notched up two IPL hundreds. The 23-year-old mustered 101 runs against the Sunrisers Hyderabad before breaking another remarkable century against RCB in the last league game. With this, he has become only the fourth player to smash two consecutive IPL centuries in back-to-back innings.

Picked up at the draft ahead of the IPL 2022 season, Shubman Gill has been the linchpin for the franchise. The right-hander has been vital for their success and became their first-ever centurion when he scored a ton against SRH on May 15, 2023.

During his 101-run knock, Gill became the highest individual run-getter in a single innings for the franchise. However, six days later, he has now surpassed his record. Gill's recent 104-run unbeaten innings against RCB is currently the best individual score by a GT batter in an IPL inning.

Gill’s early days

It was in 2018 when young Gill’s talents came to the fore. As the India U-19 team romped to the World Cup title under coach Rahul Dravid's tutelage, Shubman Gill led from the front, amassing 221 runs with three fifties and a match-winning-hundred.

Apart from being adjudged the ‘Player of the Tournament’, it was his batting potential that didn’t just impress the cricket bigwigs but also saw him bagging a Rs 1.80-crore payout from Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the 2018 Auctions.

For a person who idolizes Kohli, the 19-year-old looks like a shadow of his role model with the willow in his hands. A right-hander like Kohli, Shubman has excellent hand-eye coordination that helps him time the ball to perfection. His ability to find gaps, play the big shots, and rotate the strike are all Kohli-esque.

Even if he could not make his mark on the international stage right away, Gill’s capabilities with the willow will only get better with proper grooming and nurturing.

Rise to Fame 

The thing that is a rare trait among modern-day batters and one that separates Gill from the rest is his ability to bat for long hours. It has more to do with his hunger for runs and free-flowing style.

At just 20, Gill has the best of 268 in first-class cricket, a feat many only achieve in their mid-twenties. The right-hander is renowned for his ability to pick the gaps and cream boundaries rather than muscle the ball out of the park. By that yardstick, Gill has sufficient numbers in the IPL too. An average of close to 35 and a strike rate of 130+ is more than acceptable for a batsman, having featured in only two seasons.

Primarily seen as a backfoot player, Gill is technically very correct and pleasing to the eye. His shuffle is less pronounced than that of players such as Jacques Kallis or Steve Smith, but fewer moving parts make it easier to be in sync.

Although the lanky Punjab batsman has been churning out runs in domestic cricket for two years now, his performance against New Zealand A caught the eye of many. Gill smacked 83 and 204* in conditions that were heavily in favor of the bowlers.

India has had an uncanny knack for producing world-class batters for decades. Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, and Virat Kohli have been the shining stars in the world of cricket in their heydays. And one more name from India knocks on the doors to break into that elite group is Shubman Gill.

One of the first things that Gill has imbibed is that scoring runs in the national colors may take longer than in the domestic circuit, but the youngster has the talent and temperament to scale incredible heights.