The competition between Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill for the opener’s role in India’s Test team is necessary and healthy, coach Ravi Shastri was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
Mayank Agarwal and Rohit Sharma had a fine run as openers for India in the home Test season last year. But Sharma’s departure due to an injury has opened up a slot at the top of the order.
Shaw seems slightly ahead of Gill at the moment. The Mumbaikar had a brilliant Test debut in 2018 but faced an injury setback before the series in Australia later that year and his career got a bit derailed thereafter with a doping ban.
Gill, in the meantime, has climbed through the ranks with one brilliant performance after another. He has scores of 83, 204 not out and 136 to his name playing for India A in New Zealand over the past couple of weeks.
However, Shaw may get back his position in India’s Test team as he is fully fit now and even played the recently-concluded One-Day International series.
As far as Shastri is concerned, though, the competition between these two youngsters, who were part of the Indian team that won the Under-19 World Cup in 2018, is a big plus for the team.
“Both are supremely exciting talents,” the coach was quoted as saying in the interview. “Regardless of who gets into the XI in Wellington (first Test), the fact of the matter is they’re here, part of India’s national squad, and from here on they should know that the sky remains the limit.
“They’re all from the same school, you know. They love facing the new ball, enjoy a challenge. Rohit is unfortunately out so that puts Shubman and Prithvi in contention to open with Mayank. That competition is necessary and that’s what makes a bunch of 15 look strong and stable.”
Shastri said that he was mighty impressed by Gill’s approach to batting at such a young age. “He’s phenomenally talented. His approach to batting is very clear and he exhibits a very positive mindset. That’s very exciting for a boy who’s just 20 going on 21,” he said.