David Hussey, the Chief Mentor of Kolkata Knight Riders, is confident that opener Shubman Gill will soon return to form, and indeed go on to become one of the leading run-scorers of the season.
Gill has had an underwhelming season so far with just 80 in 5 matches; his most recent innings of 11 runs off 19 balls in KKR’s loss to the Rajasthan Royals on Saturday has brought him under the scanner as Rahul Tripathi continues to impress at number 3. The right-hander has got starts in 4 of his 5 innings, but couldn’t convert any of them into a substantial score.
David Hussey, however, points out that the youngster recently showed his high class on the Australia tour, and that his IPL scores are nothing but a dip in form which, the former Australia batter believes, Gill would overcome soon.
“He’s a star player, that’s the one thing I know. He took the Test match arena by storm in Australia. He is very specific in the way he works nets, he has got a great work ethic and is a rhythmic kid. All I can say is that the form will come and go but class is always permanent,” David Hussey said at the post-match press conference.
“He’s one classy individual off the field but an exceptionally talented player on the field. Mark my words, I think he’s going to be one of the highest-scoring batsmen by the end of the tournament,” he added.
It wasn’t a deliberate plan to go that slow: David Hussey
After being put in to bat first by Sanju Samson, the KKR openers, Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill batted uncharacteristically on the Wankhede pitch, albeit a bit tacky, as both the batters lacked intent shots, and couldn’t find the gaps either.
The powerplay score of 25/1 hurt KKR throughout their innings, and eventually, they ended up with a below-par total of 133/9, which was comfortably chased down by the Royals led by their skipper’s unbeaten 42.
David Hussey later revealed that the plan was not to be overcautious by the openers – after being down to 31/5 against CSK – but he also praised the RR bowlers who kept a stranglehold on Rana and Gill with smart variations, despite their lack of pace.
With the loss, their 4th on a trot, Eoin Morgan’s side slump to the bottom of the table. They have finished their Mumbai leg and move to Ahmedabad to face KL Rahul’s Punjab Kings on Monday.
“It wasn’t a deliberate plan to go that slow but full credit to Rajasthan Royals bowlers that they didn’t allow us to play Kolkata Knight Riders cricket upfront. I know, Brendon McCullum as a coach would generally like [the openers] to play with a lot of freedom, take the game on and provide a highly entertaining game of cricket.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t do it tonight but we have got 2 days to turn it around pretty quickly when we play against the Punjab Kings in Ahmedabad,” David Hussey concluded.