WANT TO LEARN A LOT FROM VI­RAT: SHUB­MAN

AFTER PANDYA’S EXIT, 19-YEAR-OLD SE­LECTED TO PLAY IN ODI, T20 SE­RIES IN NZ

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Front Page - Shalini Gupta [email protected]

MO­HALI:Around 2007, agri­cul­tur­ist Lakhwinder Gill moved with his fam­ily from the re­mote vil­lage of Chak Khere­wala in Pun­jab’s Jalal­abad to Mo­hali. The aim was to pro­vide his seven-year-old son Shub­man the best cricket coach­ing, to help re­alise the dream of wear­ing In­dia colours on day.

After his bat­ting bril­liance in the vic­to­ri­ous In­dia U-19 World Cup team in 2018 – he was player of the tour­na­ment -- and then in first class cricket, the 19-year-old Shub­man is on the verge of mak­ing his fa­ther’s dream come true after be­ing se­lected to the In­dia squad for the up­com­ing ODI and T20 se­ries in New Zealand.

Though Shub­man and all­rounder Vi­jay Shanker are re­place­ments after Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul were sus­pended on dis­ci­plinary grounds, the call-up isn’t sur­pris­ing.

“I had a de­cent run in New Zealand for In­dia A fol­lowed by a re­ally good Ranji Tro­phy with the bat. The knock of 268 and 148 against Tamil Nadu and Hyderabad came at the right time. I was an­tic­i­pat­ing a bit, the na­tional team call-up. It is just an ini­tial step. I hope to ce­ment my berth and serve the coun­try for a long time,” Shub­man said after nets or­gan­ised at his un­cle’s house in Mo­hali fac­ing a bowl­ing ma­chine.

Pun­jab could not qual­ify for the Ranji knock­outs but Shub­man made a huge im­pres­sion, dom­i­nat­ing qual­ity bowlers and rack­ing up big scores.

Shub­man can’t wait to join the se­nior league and share the dress­ing room with idol Vi­rat Kohli. “The way In­dia beat Aus­tralia (in Tests) un­der Vi­rat paaji shows his lead­er­ship. He is a tremen­dous crick­eter who has set high stan­dards. I’m so ex­cited to play un­der his cap­taincy. I am sure I can learn a lot from him. His ag­gres­sion, tech­nique and fit­ness in­spire me,” said Shub­man, who hopes to make his de­but in New Zealand, where he shone as an U-19 player.

“A lot of peo­ple asked when Shub­man was go­ing to make his de­but as Prithvi Shaw (U-19 skip­per) has al­ready made an

I was an­tic­i­pat­ing it. It is just an ini­tial step. I hope to ce­ment my berth and serve the coun­try for a long time. SHUB­MAN GILL, on In­dia call-up

im­pres­sive start in Tests. I al­ways told them to be pa­tient. Right things come at the right time. He should aim to be con­sis­tent when he gets the chance in the In­dian team,” Lakhwinder said.

Shub­man caught the eye of IPL scouts while smash­ing the ball around in the U-19 World Cup and was bought by Kolkata Knight Rid­ers for ~1.8 crore be­fore the 2018 sea­son. “He doesn’t re­ally un­der­stand fi­nances. I han­dle his fi­nances, he is just fo­cused on cricket,” added his fa­ther.

With the IPL be­gin­ning on March 23, ahead of the World Cup in Eng­land, Shub­man knows do­ing well in New Zealand and IPL will keep him in good stead.

“Get­ting into a World Cup squad is not very easy. One has to re­ally do well and make a mark. I need to make use of the op­por­tu­ni­ties, be it in New Zealand or in IPL. At the same time, I have to be grounded and learn from se­niors. It would be an­other dream come true, (if I get to) be­ing part of the World Cup team. My eyes will be fixed on that,” said Shub­man.

He cred­its Rahul Dravid hugely for his suc­cess. “When you have a men­tor like him you ought to do well. He lifted my game as In­dia U-19 and In­dia A coach. I learnt to be men­tally strong from him and how it is im­por­tant to go for long knocks,” said Shub­man with a glint in his eyes.

GETTY

▪ Shub­man Gill.

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