Shubman Gill has batsmanship quality similar to Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma: Harbhajan Singh | Cricket News – Times of India
It was February 2017. Leading Punjab, former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was preparing his team for the Vijay Hazare Trophy league stage in Delhi when the state selectors told him about a 17-year-old ‘talented’ boy.
“They told me: ‘He’s a very good talent. We’ll play him in the Ranji Trophy later this year. He’ll do well’ I said: ‘No, if he’s a good talent, if he’s doing well now, then why should we see him in the future? Let’s pick him now. ‘Are you sure’ they asked me. ‘100%,’ I replied instantly,” Harbhajan remembered, while talking to TOI.
It didn’t take the boy long to repay the faith and confidence that Harbhajan showed in his special abilities. In just his second game for Punjab, he scored 121 against Assam. Later that year, he slammed 129 in just his second Ranji Trophy game. And he didn’t look back. That ‘talented boy’ was Shubman Gill. On Monday, Gill smashed his maiden international hundred, which came of just 82 balls, while stroking his way to a glorious 130 off 97 balls against Zimbabwe in the third ODI at Harare.
Gill is on an incredible streak in this format: He scored 64, 43 & 98* to win the Man of the Series award in West Indies recently, and then 82* & 33, before the century in Zimbabwe. In 9 ODIs, Gill has scored 499 email@example.com, with a strike rate of 105.27. In what has turned out to be a watershed year for him, the youngster has scored 471 runs in seven international matches across formats@ 78.50.
“When he first played for Punjab, I figured out that he has time to play fast bowling. He plays the short ball really well, which means you’re good enough to play at the international level. He pulls the ball towards mid-on & mid-wicket, rather than to square leg, which shows how much time he has,” praises Harbhajan.
Harbhajan adds: “He’s a sorted batsman, who has a sound technique, and very good shot selection. In terms of quality of batsmanship, I would bracket him with the likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul in the current Indian team. You love to watch them bat.”
There was another time when Harbhajan, playing the role of a player-cum mentor at the Kolkata Knight Riders, helped out Gill, who was playing for the franchise in his fledgling career. During the first leg of the IPL in April in India last year, the prodigious talent was getting out for cheap scores repeatedly. Harbhajan noticed the problem and offered Gill a solution.
“He was trying to play like the other (attacking) batsmen. Everyone has a different game, a distinct style. In those first 6-7 games in India, he was looking to take the bowlers on right away, trying to hit a shot off every ball. I told him: ‘Look, you’ve got the game to succeed. You play fast bowling so well. You can take singles easily, hit boundaries at will. You’ve to just play like a proper batter. You don’t need to slog.”
In Pics: Shubman Gill’s maiden ton propels India to ODI series sweep against Zimbabwe
<p>Shubman Gill struck a maiden one-day international century to steer India to a nervy 13-run victory over hosts Zimbabwe on Monday and complete a clean sweep of their three-match series at the Harare Sports Club. (AFP Photo)</p>
The retired tweaker’s advice worked well Gill, as he cracked a few good scores in the second leg of IPL 2021 in UAE. Having spent some time with Gill at Punjab & KKR dressing rooms, Harbhajan has a fair idea about the young man’s “tough” character. “The good thing about him is that he’s hungry for success. Few batsmen these days feel bad when they’re not scoring runs. He’s one of those characters. He feels he is letting the team down when he’s in poor form. It’s a quality one must have. It’s a quality that Tendulkar too had,” says Harbhajan.
The ‘Turbanator’ feels that someday in the future, Gill can even be the India captain. “For me, he’s a future India captain. He’s got the game, and he’ll learn about the captaincy. So, why not?”