IPL 2020: Shubman Gill's swift rise points to stardom
What has also helped raise his profile is the enhanced role that Kolkata Knight Riders have offered him this season, leading to even someone like former England captain Kevin Pietersen calling him a future captain
No other player has been built up to be this big a name even before he has done anything of note for India as much as Shubman Gill, 21, has.
When he was picked for the white-ball tour to New Zealand in 2018-19, there was widespread cheer. "If the news that Gill is selected for India is true; it's an excellent move. He is a special talent and it is prudent that he jumps the long queue of excellent young batsmen while he is in good form," tweeted former West Indies paceman Ian Bishop.
The best compliment however came from captain Virat Kohli on India's white-ball tour to New Zealand in 2018-19. "I saw him [Gill] bat in the nets and I was like wow I was not even 10 per cent of that when I was 19," Kohli had said.
Kohli had a good look
That first look of Gill was never out of Kohli's mind. It ensured that Gill remained a key member of the Test squad throughout the 2019-20 season. He was in the reserves and was always close to making a Test debut. He even made a return to the ODI squad for the aborted series against South Africa, indicating that he is indeed close to claiming one of the spots in the top-order.
Gill's continued rise as a cricketer has also been marked by the mentoring offered by another Punjab dasher Yuvraj Singh. The former India all-rounder has taken Gill under his wings along with a few other Punjab players, had been training them in the lead-up to the IPL.
What has also helped raise his profile is the enhanced role that Kolkata Knight Riders have offered him this season, leading to even someone like former England captain Kevin Pietersen calling him a future captain.
Impressive at the top
Gill is the sort of player who needs time and that is what KKR have provided him this season. As long as Sunil Narine opened with him, Gill appeared a bit unsure. But with Rahul Tripathi, he appears a lot more assured.
Gill's elevation in status has also resulted in him being co-opted in the KKR leadership group by head coach Brendon McCullum and captain Dinesh Karthik. All this only points to a swift rise for the young Punjab batsman.
But there is still one area where Kohli is 90 per cent better than Gill and that is probably in running between the wickets. Dragging the bat in and putting his body on the line is something Gill will learn with time. Then, probably he can truly be 10 per cent of Kohli.
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