Shubman Gill was the top run-getter for Punjab in the recently concluded Vijay Hazare trophy.
- Shubman Gill is playing for India 'C' in the ongoing Deodhar Trophy
- Shubman had a good Vijay Hazare trophy for Punjab
- He said that he is looking forward to do well in the Deodhar trophy
With over 400 runs, Shubman Gill was the top run-getter for Punjab in the recently-concluded Vijay Hazare trophy. He could've scored more had Punjab qualified for the knock-outs. The 19-year-old was terribly disappointed but vowed to carry the good form while playing for India 'C' in the ongoing Deodhar Trophy.
Gill smashed 106 not out off 111 deliveries on Thursday in the tournament to guide India 'C' to a 6-wicket victory over India 'A'.
"It (recent good run in domestic cricket) could have been better though. I had a good Vijay Hazare season where I got three half-centuries and one ton. Twice I got out in 80s, I regret not converting them into big scores. Two fifties and two hundreds would have been great to get," Gill told India Today in an exclusive chat.
"But there is a long season ahead after the ongoing Deodhar matches which will be followed by Ranji Trophy, then India 'A' tour and domestic T20s. I am preparing well for it and keeping myself fit. I have to keep performing to knock on the doors of the Indian dressing room," he added.
That Gill is on the national selectors' radar after another Under-19 star Prithvi Shaw's sensational Test debut is obvious. He, along with Manish Pandey, was called to be with Virat Kohli's team during the final Test against the West Indies in Hyderabad. However, the match ended inside three days before Gill could even soak-in the dressing room atmosphere.
"Yes, I didn't get much time to spend in the Indian dressing room. Had a talk with the team management. They advised me to keep batting well and cash-in the opportunity whenever it arrives. My ultimate goal remains to play for the senior team and to sustain there. I want to win matches and trophies for India."
Stories of how he and other young guns of Indian Under-19 and 'A' squads are deeply influenced by their legendary coach Rahul Dravid's style of thinking can be found in abundance. Gill has his own way to show his gratitude.
"I am deeply influenced by Rahul (Dravid) Sir. He has been with us for the last two years starting with the Under-19 Asia Cup in Sri Lanka and then the India 'A' tours. He understands my batting really well. He keeps on telling me that over a period of time, certain changes come in a batsman's style which are not evident to the player himself and can only be identified by the one who is watching from outside."
Much before the England tour with the Indian 'A' team and after his heroics in the U-19 World Cup, Gill impressed everyone in IPL too, scoring over 200 runs in his debut season for Kolkata Knight Riders.
"Playing IPL was great, we had some really experienced players in KKR including DK bhaiya (Dinesh Karthik). It was a learning curve as I interacted a lot with all the big names too. A youngster like me gains a lot of confidence by speaking with experienced players. I personally learn a lot when they share their experience with me. Also, I try to understand how a big player thinks and gain a lot of confidence from it."
While in the Punjab dressing room, Gill tries to get as much feedback from "Yuvi Pa" (Yuvraj Singh). He also knows that the India 'A' tour of New Zealand next month will be a huge opportunity to impress everyone.
"New Zealand will be very important for me as even their 'A' team's bowling attack is very good. Playing there and scoring runs will help me learn a lot more about performing against international teams in their own conditions."
Gill says he has a very small friend circle which helps him stay grounded even as the voices to include him in the national team have only grown louder in past few months, especially after Shaw's selection.
"I felt really great to see the way Prithvi batted in Test cricket. His aggression and fearless approach was amazing. It is a big thing to make a hundred on your Test debut and by playing in such a ruthless manner. We stay in touch and call each other off and on. Obviously, playing World Cup remains a dream for every cricketer. I will also try to do well and keep performing and if by any chance I do get an opportunity, then I will perform to the best of my ability."
Right now though, like the entire nation, the teenager is in awe of Virat Kohli's swashbuckling batting.
"His (Virat Kolhi) consistency and conversion rate is mind boggling. I don't think that there has been any player who has played like this over the last few years. The way he is performing I am sure, he'll break all records."