With the 2023 ODI World Cup in India less than 12 months away, the competition for who could make it to the main 15-member squad has started to take shape through the ongoing series against New Zealand.
But Shubman Gill, who made a fine 45 not out in the washed out second ODI against New Zealand at Hamilton on Sunday, refused to think far till the World Cup and insisted that his central focus right now is to make the most out of chances he’s getting.
“I am actually not looking that far (playing in the 2023 ODI World Cup). For me, the main intention or focus right now is to be able to make the most out of the opportunities. As far as this series is concerned, this is what I am trying to do. I am trying to make the most out of the opportunity I get and trying to score big for the team and make some big contributions for the team,” said Gill in the post-match press conference.
In the match, Gill shined in his timing and placement of shots, entertaining the crowd which had come to watch the match at Seddon Park, before rain forced a no-result. He drove elegantly, cut fiercely, pulled powerfully and was glorious in lofting inside-out as well. He added that he was looking to get a big score for the visitors’ before rain cut short the match.
“With the way I was playing in the last match, I had my eyes on attempting to play a long innings. We were having this talk in the team meeting that the batters who are set, if they stay at the crease for the whole innings in the match, then it makes life easy for the batters who are coming next and helps the team in getting a big score.”
Gill admitted that stop-start nature of Sunday’s game was infuriating. “Yes, it remains a bit frustrating. But as overs were being reduced, it was a bit irritating that we were coming in and out constantly without knowing how many overs will be played in the match. So, planning becomes a bit difficult.”
Gill also had the best seat in the house for in-form Suryakumar Yadav to bring out his cracking conventional and reverse sweeps, apart from slog and flick shots. “There is no special need to have any talk with him out in the middle as he was batting so good. But it is very enjoyable in batting alongside him.”
Though Gill is not in India’s next ODI assignment with a three-match tour to Bangladesh next month, he stated that playing domestic matches at home will help him in maintaining his form and rhythm.
“Mindset as a young player is that if I get a break from the Indian team or do not get picked, then some domestic games, which is going really well in the country, like Ranji Trophy will happen. If we aren’t getting to be in the national team, then it is not like that a guy is sitting free.”
“Very few times you would see an Indian player for one, two or three weeks, is doing nothing. So when you get a break from there, then you have a good time to work upon yourself and play in domestic matches.”
Gill also felt that making scores above 350 is something which can’t be achieved consistently in ODIs. “400-450 are made in one or two matches per year. When you score 300 or more, it makes for a good match. This all is very dependent on conditions, whether you bat first or not. But making 400 in every match is not that easy. I don’t think that if any team is looking to make 400 or 450 in every match, it is not that achievable.”
With many cricketers dishing out lavish praise on Gill since the U19 World Cup days in 2018, the right-hander was firm in saying that praises or criticism don’t affect him or his focus in making valuable contributions for the team.
“Personally, for me, the opinions of others, whether good or bad, neither affect my game or whenever I am going inside to bat. When you go out to bat, you don’t get affected by whether they speak good or bad about you.”
“I am only affected by where the ball is going and how I will make my runs and my focus is on them all the time. It is an automatic shift where your mind shifts away from all those things and start to think about how to score runs in the type of condition or situation out there.”