Tuesday, April 23, 2019 | ePaper

Shubman Gill credits Dravid for his batting evolution

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There is an uncanny similarity in the way Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli play some of their shots. Both can hit a ball - pitched just outside the off-stump - through extra cover as well as the mid-wicket region. And, if one looks at their still frames after the shots have been executed, it seems they are mirror images.
Gill is a self-confessed fan of Kohli. Thus, when he received his maiden call-up to the Indian team for the upcoming ODI and T20I series in New Zealand, the 19-year-old's joy knew no bounds. Finally, he was going to realise his dream of sharing the dressing room with his 'idol'.
"I am really excited to share the dressing room with Virat. It is a surreal feeling. He is my idol. I like the way he handles pressure. Now, I'll get the chance to learn from him directly," Gill told TOI. "Often I watch Virat's batting videos on YouTube. Whatever I learn, I try and put it into practice in the nets," the youngster added.
Gill is hopeful of pushing for a spot in the 2019 World Cup squad, if given a chance to play, and is also ready to bat at any position despite being an opener. "If I do well for my country, then there is a chance that I might even make the 2019 World Cup squad. For that, I will have to make good every opportunity that is given to me," he said. "My preference is the opening slot but if I am given an opportunity in the middle-order, I will try and maximise that chance."
Gill's recent form has been stupendous. In the ongoing Ranji Trophy, Gill has been nothing short of Bradmanesque. He has scored 728 runs in five matches (nine innings) at an average of 104. "The Ranji season so far has been great for me. I am in good nick and hitting the ball well. The confidence of having scored runs on a consistent basis is there. Grinding it out in domestic cricket has improved my game enormously," said Gill.
Talking about the call-up, Gill said, "It was a surprise call-up for me. I was just going to sleep and suddenly at around 1 am, I got messages from reporters saying that I have been selected. For the first few seconds, I was in a state of shock. After that, I went and told my father. Initially, I thought this was more of a speculation type of news; but then when I got the call from BCCI, I was over the moon."
For Gill, who hails from Chak Khede Wala village in Punjab's Fazilka district, New Zealand holds special memories as it is in this country that he made his first impression as a promising batsman during the 2018 U-19 World Cup which India won. Gill was thankful to Rahul Dravid for the evolution in his game.

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