Talented Indian opener Shubman Gill has had a fairytale start to his Test career in the recently concluded Test series against Australia.
Coming in as a replacement for his former U-19 captain Prithvi Shaw after the first Test, Shubman Gill stamped his authority on the proceedings and made heads turn courtesy of his sumptuous strokeplay and steely temperament as he endured baptism with fire against one of the best seam-bowling attacks consisting of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins
Sumptuous straight drives, authoritative backfoot punches and cover-drives, and of-course the ferocious pull stroke, Shubman Gill showed his complete range in stroke-making during the course of the six innings that he batted in Australia.
Gill saved his best for the last as he took on the short-pitch ploy dished out by the Aussie quicks and especially Mitchell Starc with absolute disdain. Looking at those strokes, one can’t even imagine that young Gill was once petrified of the short-pitch stuff.
In a recent interview with his IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders, Shubman Gill revealed how used to fear facing bouncers early-on in his career and how he went about exorcising the mental blockage.
“When I was young, I used to be petrified of bouncers. I used to be prepared for the chest-height balls way in advance. I used to practise drives a lot so I got mature in playing the pull shot with a straight bat. I also developed one more shot where I move back a little to play the cut. I used to feel scared of short deliveries so I always wanted to get away from the line of the ball to play the cut shot. These two-three shots were my favourite as a kid and now they have become a part of me,” Shubman Gill was quoted as saying by Kolkata Knight Riders.
‘When you get hit by a ball, your fear disappears’- Shubman Gill
Shubman Gill also went on to narrate a story from his formative years which helped him shrug off any fear that he had while facing the bouncer.
“When you get hit by a ball, your fear disappears. You are only scared until you get a blow but once you get hit, you feel like it was pretty normal! And then you lose the fear entirely. I was 9 years old when I was asked to play in a higher age group match. There was a bowler in the academy who was really fast. I was batting against him and was scared that I would get a bouncer to start with. So, I had pre-decided that I would just duck it,” he said.
“He tried to bowl a bouncer but instead ended pitching it up. I realised this but still squatted and saw the ball hitting the edge of my bat to go the boundary. I realised he was not that fast after all. Soon I hit 2-3 more boundaries. This helped me raise my confidence level. This incident just eliminated all kinds of fear from my heart for leather balls and bouncers,” Gill added.
Shubman Gill finished the series with 259 runs across six innings with the help of two half-centuries and his 91 on the final day of the Brisbane Test played a huge role in India gunning down the target of 328.