One of the primary reasons for India’s sudden exit in the semi-finals of the ICC World Cup 2019 was their brittle middle-order. In fact, right through the World Cup India suffered because their middle-order, especially the No.4 position, wasn’t sorted. The likes of KL Rahul, Vijay Shankar and Rishabh Pant were tried at the slot but none could deliver.
The No.4 position has been a big headache for India in the last couple of years. From Yuvraj Singh and Manish Pandey to Ambati Rayudu and Rishabh Pant, the team management has tried plenty of batsmen in the No.4 slot but somehow all of them have been inconsistent and largely came a copper.
Now that India’s World Cup assignment is over they have to look at the future. And the conundrum of the No.4 slot has to be solved. Ideally, a young a dynamic player should be added in the role. Someone who has the technique to stay in the middle against both spinners and fast bowlers and who can also accelerate when the need arises.
From the current crop of India’s talent pool, the name of Shubman Gill has been doping the rounds for a while. The stylish batsman was one of the key architects of India’s win in the 2018 U-19 World Cup in New Zealand.
At just 19 years of age, Gill has shown immense potential and maturity already. He has also featured in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the Kolkata Knight Riders and was flexible batting in the top and lower order. In IPL 2019, Gill especially showed his class when he was promoted as an opener and played some valuable knocks.
In First-Class cricket, Gill has played 9 matches so far, collecting 1089 runs and a stunning average of 77.28 with 3 hundreds and 7 fifties.
Clearly, the young man has oodles of talent and promise. He is someone who has been in the horizons for the last couple of years and would be in the radar of the selectors for the No.4 spot in the Indian ODI team.
Famous and experienced coach Dav Whatmore certainly feels that Gill has the qualities to be a dependable middle-order batsman for the Indian One-Day team. “The No. 4 issue kept raising its head. India should look at the future. Shubman Gill is a fantastic young batsman and he could well fill that slot. He’s got the technique,” Whatmore was recently quoted as saying.
Gill, meanwhile, has been doing exactly what he should be doing – scoring plenty of runs. He is a part of the India A team that is currently touring the West Indies. In the three One-day matches played so far, Gill has smashed 62 and 77 in two games already and helped the team to a series victory.
Shubman Gill, hence cannot be kept away for long. He is young, talented and has the ability to be a solid and dynamic presence in the Indian middle-order who can dominate both spinners and seamers. With the Indian team scheduled to tour the West Indies in August, it would be interesting to see if the youngster gets an opportunity in the team. If he does, then the dawn of a new-look Indian team might well begin.