Shubman Gill had a dream debut series in Tests, playing a knock crucial to India’s historic second straight series win in Australia. His 91 in the final Test at Gabba set the foundation of India’s phenomenal victory.
Brought in as an opener after Prithvi Shaw had a disappointing run, the 21-year-old shone in the challenging position at the top of the order against one of the best pace-bowling unit in cricket. The composure and technique he showed while facing the new ball against the likes of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins impressed one and all.
From being afraid of the bouncer to standing firm while facing a barrage at the bouncy Gabba, Gill has come a long way. In a video interview shared by Kolkata Knight Riders, his Indian Premier League franchise, the youngster recounted the interesting story of how he got over his fear of short balls and turned it into an advantage for his batting.
“When I was young, I used to be petrified of bouncers. I used to be prepared for the chest-height balls way in advance. I used to practise drives a lot so I got mature in playing the pull shot with a straight bat. I also developed one more shot where I move back a little to play the cut. I used to feel scared of short deliveries so I always wanted to get away from the line of the ball to play the cut shot. These two-three shots were my favourite as a kid and now they have become a part of me,” Gill said.
However, while playing an match when he was only nine years old, he realised his fear is just that and playing a bouncer, or being hit, is just a part of the game.
“I was 9 years old when I was asked to play in a higher age group match. There was a bowler in the academy who was really fast. I was batting against him and was scared that I would get a bouncer to start with. So, I had pre-decided that I would just duck it.
He tried to bowl a bouncer but instead ended pitching it up. I realised this but still squatted and saw the ball hitting the edge of my bat to go the boundary. I realised he was not that fast after all. Soon I hit 2-3 more boundaries. This helped me raise my confidence level. This incident just eliminated all kinds of fear from my heart for leather balls and bouncers,” he recounted.
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This strong mindset was evident when he was playing in Australia, as he outshone his senior partner Rohit Sharma as well.
Watch Gill recount his full journey, from getting Rs 50 as a while for his wicket to being picked by KKR in the auctions