On the 26th of December 2020, a 21-year-old cricketer from Punjab, someone who is being hailed as the next big thing in Indian cricket- Shubman Gill– finally realized his lifelong dream as he made his much-awaited Test debut.
It was a special moment for young Shubman Gill, not only because he had finally earned his rightful spot after consistent performances in domestic cricket and for India A but also because life literally completed a full circle for him on that historic day.
As a young kid, Shubman, just like other Indians, used to wake up in the early hours of the morning to watch Team India lock horns with the Aussies Down Under. And, now, people were waking up to watch how he went about his business.
“When I was a kid, I used to get up at 4.30-5am to watch Test matches in Australia. Now people are getting up early to watch me play, that’s quite a feeling. I still remember my father used to wake up early and so would I just to watch the Australia series. It was a different kind of fun to watch Brett Lee bowl or Sachin sir (Tendulkar) bat,” said Shubman Gill in an official interview with Kolkata Knight Riders.
“All of a sudden, I was playing in that team and Australians were bowling at me. It felt surreal that the world was watching me. I was really looking forward to the challenge and always wanted to play in Australia to experience how it feels,” he added.
‘I was waiting for a long time for my Test debut’- Shubman Gill
Gill had been waiting for some time before he eventually got his maiden Test cap. And, he got that in the most difficult circumstances.
India had just been bowled out for 36, his former U-19 teammate Prithvi Shaw had been dropped, the team had just lost its best batsman in Virat Kohli and the pressure to perform had increased many folds given the nature of defeat in Adelaide.
The situation under which he faced his first ball in Test cricket was even more difficult.
He had just lost his experienced opening partner in Mayank Agarwal thanks to a near unplayable over by Mitchell Starc; the ball was seaming around and its best exponents in Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, and Mitchell Starc were breathing fire.
“I was waiting for a long time for my Test debut. I was with the team for three years and 4 series. So, yeah, it’s been a long wait to reach that moment (of debut). I never thought that I would be debuting against Australia at MCG in the Boxing Day Test match. I was really excited and nervous at the same time. But I think the level of excitement surpassed the nervousness. It was a great feeling indeed that I was finally making my debut and had a chance to prove myself,” revealed Shubman Gill.
It was an ultimate baptism with fire for Shubman Gill but the 21-year-old did not get bog down as he displayed brilliant temperament coupled with gorgeous strokeplay.
Gill survived the tricky phase and while he failed to convert his start into a maiden 50, it was just a trailer of what was to follow as the younger opener went on to smash 259 runs in six innings which included a match-winning 91 in the 4th innings of the Gabba Test.