Opener Shubman Gill on Wednesday announced himself as an all-format player with his first T20 International century to help India beat New Zealand by 168 runs in a series-clinching victory.
Gill smashed an unbeaten 126 off 63 balls to steer the team to 234/4 after they elected to bat first in the decider at the world’s biggest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad.
India then bowled-out out the Kiwis for just 66 runs in 12.1 overs for a 2-1 series win. The hosts had swept the preceding three-match One-Day International series against New Zealand.
“I was backing myself to get the big ones even in one-days and T20s, unfortunately it don’t happen for me in the Sri Lanka series,” said the 23-year-old Gill.
Asked about the demands of playing all three formats, Gill said: “When you are representing your country, I don’t think there is any kind of fatigue. I always wanted to play for India and being fortunate enough to play all the three formats, it is a blessing.”
The huge victory was India’s biggest ever in T20 internationals and the biggest margin by runs in a match played between two Test-playing nations.
Gill, who hit a match-winning Test ton in Bangladesh in December and then his first ODI double hundred in January, had scored just 76 runs in his previous five T20Is since making his debut last month against Sri Lanka.
Skipper Hardik Pandya, who was named played of the series, was full of praise for Gill.
“He (Gill) is technically so sound that it’s very easy for him,” said Pandya in the post-match press conference.
“It’s just a switch he needs to do to play T20, ODI and Test cricket because he has the game for all formats. So, to be honest, he’s not someone who does not need to play behind the wicket because of the kind of shots he can play all around in front [of the wicket] with the gaps. He’s actually one of those batsmen along with Surya [Suryakumar Yadav] who can hit good balls and make them a bad ball.”
Pandya added: “Having said that, it’s just tremendous seeing his growth and it has been very fruitful for me [as captain]. He’s a kid who has a right head on his shoulders and going forward I think he’s going to be a great value and asset for the Indian cricket team. I wish the best to him, and I want him to continue the great run, which he is having.”
Inputs from AFP