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Vijay Shankar, Gill to replace suspended Pandya and Rahul

14 January 2019
Vijay Shankar, Gill to replace suspended Pandya and Rahul

Shubman Gill was about to turn in when he was woken up by "a storm of messages" in the wee hours of the night. The right-handed batsman from Punjab is one of the most sought after youngsters in the country and has been termed as the next big thing in the Indian cricket team.

His first act was to go to the next room, where his parents were sleeping. "Now, I'll get the chance to learn from him directly", Gill told TOI.

India are now down three frontliners for the New Zealand series with Rahul and Pandya sent home from Australia and pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah being rested. He is very exciting. He makes an attractive package - a classical batsman who has all the shots and can also adapt his game to all formats without changing his style of play.

Gill soon got drafted into the India A setup for the tour of England and New Zealand where he again performed consistently. "I am familiar with the conditions because I have just travelled there [with the India A squad]".

The talented batsman from Punjab shot to fame for his heroics in the ICC U19 World Cup previous year. "I am really looking forward to being in New Zealand with the team", he added. I'm so excited to play under his captaincy. "I'll just see how he practises, the way he does his fitness work". I was anticipating a bit, the national team call-up. The only question was whether he was ready for the highest level of the game and Dravid thinks the 19-year-old is. "We have discussed with Rahul (Dravid), that Shubman is ready for worldwide cricket".

Gill has been on the selectors' radar for quite some time now. The duo won't take part in the tour of New Zealand as well. At the same time, I have to be grounded and learn from seniors. "For the first 15-20 seconds, I was in a state of shock", while speaking to India TV News. In the next match, he made 148 as Punjab almost pulled off a chase of 338 in the fourth innings.

"I had a decent run in New Zealand for India A followed by a really good Ranji Trophy with the bat". "Often I watch Virat's batting videos on YouTube". They all told me that I don't have to hit every ball, but I should know certain areas that are my strength and keep those.

Shubman had first hogged limelight when he made a world-record 587-run partnership with Nirmal Singh in Punjab and scored 351 runs in Punjab U-16 tournament.

"Shubman is comfortable both opening the innings as well as playing in the middle-order. He has displayed his best form in the last two years and the selection for the Indian team feels special for the whole family and friends", said Khushpreet whom Shubman calls his elder brother. "I used to play Under-14s when I was ten, then Under-16s when I was 13-14".