Young opener’s maiden T20I century has people comparing him to run machine Virat Kohli
Shubman Gill celebrates his maiden ODI, Test and T20I tons v Zimbabwe in Harare (left), Bangladesh in Chattogram and NZ in Ahmedabad (right) respectively. Pics/Getty Images
Shubman Gill’s prowess as an opener was never in doubt, but his first Twenty20I ton has got people talking about him as the next Virat Kohli, an all-format run machine for India.
Gill scored 126 in just 63 balls in a crushing 168-run series-clinching win over a hapless New Zealand on Wednesday. It was just his sixth T20I appearance. Despite being gifted with all the shots, Gill, 23, has not yet cemented a place for India in all formats, playing no part in last year’s T20 World Cup. Gill hit a match-winning Test ton in Bangladesh in December and a maiden ODI double-hundred in January. That knock earned him the moniker of Smoothman Gill—for his free-flowing shot-making—from batting great Sunil Gavaskar.
Also read: India vs Srilanka: Virat Kohli smashes 45th ODI century, equals Sachin Tendulkar's record
T20I skipper Hardik Pandya praised Gill after the pair put on 103 runs for the fourth wicket in India’s 234-4, which paved the way for the biggest T20 win between two Test teams. “He will achieve greater heights in his career for sure because of not what he did today but because of his work ethic and the honesty towards his game,” Pandya told the Indian cricket board’s website.
“I always felt he has the style and technique to play all formats so this was not surprising for me. The effortless batting that he can do, not many can. It means a lot for him, as a youngster to play all formats adds a new dimension to the game,” added Pandya.
Highest T20I score by Indian
Gill’s unbeaten knock, laced with 12 fours and seven sixes, was the highest T20I score by an Indian, overtaking Kohli’s 122 not out. Gill also became only the fifth Indian batsman—including Kohli and current captain Rohit Sharma—to record centuries across all three formats.
“He has come of age,” former India opener Wasim Jaffer told ESPNCricinfo. “There was no denying the fact that he had conquered Test (cricket) a little bit, One-Day for sure. Today’s knock proves what a fantastic player India has found.. He is a three-format player and after Virat Kohli he is the next big batter that’s going to come good,” Jaffer added.
Gill had put New Zealand’s bowling to the sword in the preceding ODIs as well, scoring 360 runs—the joint-most in a bilateral three-match series, alongside Pakistan skipper Babar Azam.
“When you are representing your country, I don’t think there is any kind of fatigue,” Gill said after his T20 masterclass at the world’s biggest cricket ground in Ahmedabad.
“I always wanted to play for India and being fortunate enough to play all the three formats, it’s a blessing,” he added.
Later in a chat with his captain Pandya, the young batsman, who hails from a family of farmers in Punjab, said he owed much of his success to his father.
‘All credit to dad’
“I think the way I practise and the way my dad made me practise, 90 per cent of the credit should to go to him because it was his vision,” said Gill, who has played 13 Tests, 21 ODIs and six T20Is for India since his first 50-over match against New Zealand at Hamilton in January 2019.
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