Shubman Gill’s prowess as an opener was never in doubt, but his first Twenty20 ton has got people talking about him as the next Virat Kohli, an all-format run machine for India. Gill scored an unbeaten 126 in just 63 balls in a crushing 168-run series-clinching win over a hapless New Zealand on Wednesday. It was just his sixth T20 appearance.

His knock, laced with 12 fours and seven sixes, was the highest T20 score by an Indian, overtaking Kohli’s 122 not out. He also became only the fifth Indian man – including Kohli and current captain Rohit Sharma – to record centuries across all three formats.

In an interaction following the match posted by, skipper Hardik Pandya spoke to Gill after the pair put on 103 runs for the fourth wicket in India’s 234-4, which paved the way for the biggest T20 win between two Test teams.

Gill said he owed much of his success to his father and added: “I think the way I practice and the way my dad made me practice... 90 percent of the credit should to go to him because it was his vision.”

The 23-year-old had put New Zealand’s bowling to the sword in the preceding ODIs as well, scoring 360 runs – the joint-most in a bilateral three-match series, alongside Pakistan skipper Babar Azam. However, in the T20I series, he scored 7 and 11 in the previous games.

“In the matches leading up to this game in Ahmedabad, I didn’t do well – did not match up to my expectations. So I was eager to perform,” said the opener.

Talking about his conversation before the match with skipper Pandya, Gill said, “When you told me to play my natural game, it really helped because I did not have to do anything extra. These small things help a long way.”

Gill also revealed the advice he received from Pandya when the duo were in the middle during the match.

“To be able to play how I play, I must be mentally clear. Whenever I hit a six, you told me ‘hold your shape the next ball.’ I was in that zone, but you told me to hold back (even when I was playing their best bowler Santner) and take on the other bowlers.”

With inputs from AFP