After winning the ICC Under-19 World Cup with India in 2018, Shubman Gill has risen through the ranks of Indian cricket exceptionally well in a span of a couple of years. Such has been his growth that currently he looks like a first-choice opener for India in Test cricket. From age group cricket to making his Test debut at the Boxing Day Test, Shubman Gill has come a long way in his cricketing journey so far and here’s his story.
He was born in the Fazilka district of Punjab alongside the India-Pakistan border and it seems like the boy was born to play cricket. He comes from a family of farmers and if cricket hadn’t worked out for him then farming would have been the best bet for the boy from Punjab. His family soon moved to Mohali near the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium and rented a house opposite to the ground.
He came into the limelight in Punjab cricket when he went on to score a massive 351 runs in one innings in an Under-16 Inter district tournament. That helped him make inroads in the state team and during his Under-16 days with the Punjab state team, he smashed a double century on debut. Later that year, he went on to share the stage with his idol Virat Kohli while receiving a BCCI award for the best junior cricketer, which he won for two successive years – 2013-14 and 2014-15. He spent a couple of years making a name for himself in age-group cricket and made his List-A debut for Punjab in the 2016-17 Vijay Hazare Trophy. He made his First-Class debut in the same season with a half-century in the game and soon followed that up with an attacking 129 in the subsequent match.
Known for his penchant for big runs, Gill was drafted in the India Under-19 side and was eventually named as the vice-captain for the 2018 Under-19 Cricket World Cup. When picked for the national Under-19 side, he amassed 351 runs in four innings to be named the Man of the Series during the Youth ODI series at home against England. In the reciprocal tour, his first in English conditions, he top-scored once more, with 278 runs in four innings. India swept both series. He made all the right headlines in the World Cup where he was adjudged as the Man of the Tournament for scoring 372 runs in just six matches. His stellar performances in the tournament in New Zealand triumphed India to yet another Under-19 World Cup trophy.
RUN-SCORING MACHINE IN THE DOMESTIC CIRCUIT
While he was still in New Zealand for the World Cup, Gill got picked in the 2018 Indian T20 League auction by Team Kolkata for INR 1.8 crore. In his debut Indian T20 League season, Shubman scored 296 runs at an outstanding average of 32.88 in 14 matches. Even though he was batted out of his favoured opening position, his performances in the tournament garnered heaps of praise from all the top pundits across the world.
After the World Cup, he scored a whopping 728 runs in just nine matches at an average of 104 in the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy season. His performances in the India A games have also been eye-catching. The boy just never fails to deliver irrespective of the format, conditions and stage he plays at. Since his Under-19 days, he has always been a constant feature in Rahul Dravid’s plans for India A.
Shubman Gill got a surprise call up for the ODI team in January 2019 less than a year after his exploits in the Under-19 World Cup as he was named as the replacement in the limited-overs series against New Zealand after Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul were suspended by the BCCI. Gill went on to make his ODI debut against the Kiwis but didn’t enjoy a fruitful start to his international career. He failed to cross single digits in both the innings and was subsequently left out of the tour of the West Indies.
Gill went back to play for India A and was awarded the Player of the Series Award in the Caribbean. Against West Indies A, Shubman scored a breathtaking unbeaten 204 runs off 258 balls in a four-day match, rescuing his team from 14/3. On his return to India, he would once again help India A, this time as captain, with a match-winning 90 against South Africa A. His constant run-scoring ability didn’t go unnoticed as a week after that 90 against South Africa A, he got his maiden Test call up for the home series against South Africa.
FAIRYTALE BEGINNING TO TEST CRICKET
After making 2,270 runs at an average of 68.78 with seven hundreds in first-class cricket, Shubman finally got a chance to wear that famous Indian Cap. He’d go down in history as India Test Cap number 297 and made his Test debut at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in the Boxing Day Test.
In the two matches at the MCG and SCG, Gill managed to score 161 runs at an average of 53.66. His innings at Sydney got him his first half-century in Test cricket and helped India pull off one of the most iconic heists in their history.
His appetite for runs and his class seems well beyond his age of 21. He has all the traits and the temperament for becoming a world-class player for Team India in the future but for now, we shouldn’t put unnecessary pressure on the young boy and let him enjoy his cricket career.
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