Cricket - Gill at Kanpur
Indian opener Shubman Gill plays a lofted drive during his half-century in the first Test at Kanpur on Thursday. Image Credit: AFP

Why is Shubman Gill not able to convert his good starts in to a big hundred? That’s the question on every fan’s mind as he again failed to make it in Kanpur.

Gill made his debut in the historic series against Australia last year in the second Test match at Melbourne. India were bowled out for their lowest score of 36 at Adelaide and their captain Virat Kohli had gone back home on paternity leave. No one gave India a chance to come back in the series but India bounced back in the series to win the second Test in Melbourne and then conquered the Gabba fortress of Australia - where they had not lost a single Test since in 1980.

Gill’s contribution was instrumental in both the Tests. In his debut Test, he scored 45 and 35 not out to see India chase down 70 runs to win that Test match on a difficult pitch. In his second Test at Sydney, India were chasing the game from the beginning. Gill scored a solid 50 in the first innings when conditions were tough and followed it up with a gritty 31 in the second innings.


In both the innings, he along with Rohit Sharma, ensured India did not lose early wickets and put on a partnership of 70 runs with the ‘Hitman.’ India managed to save the Sydney Test thanks to Hanuman Vihari, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant and Ravi Ashwin but the crucial runs scored by Gill were vital too in India saving the game. In the last Test at the Gabba, where Australia had not lost a Test for 40 years, he played one of his finest knocks in the second innings when India were chasing 328, Gill scored an attacking 91 to set the platform for India to chase down that target and win back-to-back series for India Down Under. What was heartening to see that he attacked Australia’s premier fast bowler Mitchell Starc and played Nathan Lyon with ease.

Gill does all the hard work of seeing the new ball off - which is the most difficult period in Test cricket while opening the batting but unfortunately, he does not capitalise on the hard work he has put in earlier and throws his wicket away when it's time to cash in and make a big hundred.

In the Test series against England at home, he scored just one half-century and was dropped from the fourth Test. In the eight Test matches before Thursday’s innings against New Zealand, he got starts in all matches but sadly could not convert them to big hundreds.

Golden opportunity

In Kanpur, he also looked fluent during his innings and scored 52 and had an opportunity to score a hundred but Kyle Jamieson got the better of him immediately after lunch. What he had to do is to be little watchful as Jamieson was the only bowler who looked threatening and had to see him off. However, he got bowled to an inswinger and might rue of missing out on a golden opportunity to get that first Test hundred.

Gill has, in his first class career, scored big runs and has shown the talent and temperament, it’s just the hunger which is currently lacking in him achieving that elusive Test hundred. A player’s class is judged on how many Test hundreds he has scored and in what conditions and Gill has got all the talent in the world but will have to be patient and respect the good bowlers - and the runs will flow.

There can’t be a better coach than Rahul Dravid to guide him how to score big runs in Test cricket as this is where your temperament is tested as Test cricket separates the men from the boys.

- Cricket enthusiast Anis Sajan is the Vice-Chairman of Danube Group