Shubman Gill
Kolkata Knight Riders' batsman Shubman Gill. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Shubman Gill has the skills that are bound to make him India’s mainstay batsman soon. Through a match wining unbeaten knock of 65, this 19-year-old boy, displaying his wide repertoire of strokes steered Kolkata Knight Riders to a seven-wicket win on Friday at the Mohali Stadium.

Gill values every moment and tries to better himself. He is confident that he will soon cement his place in the Indian team. His ability to appreciate the taste of his success is evident from his remark after receiving his first Indian Premier League man of the match award: “It feels great that my first Man of the match was at my home ground. It can’t get better than this.”

Gill’s father Lakhwinder Singh, who is an agriculturist, celebrated his son’s half century from the stands, by dancing in joy. His happiness has a reason as it was his dream to see his son being applauded for his talent.

Farm boy

Gill was born in Fazika in Punjab and Singh wanted his son, who loved playing cricket from the age of three, to become a cricketer and used to make people working at his farm to throw balls at Gill to help him master his strokes.

Shubman Gill of KKR plays a shot during match 52 of the IPL between the Kings XI Punjab and the Kolkata Knight Riders held at the IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali on the 3rd May 2019. Image Credit: BCCI

Singh was so confident of the skills in his son that he moved his family to Mohali and even rented a house near the Mohali Stadium. No wonder Gill was excited when he won the first honour for his hard work at the ground where he trained hard every day walking to the stadium from his house. Incidentally, Singh had asked all his relatives from his home town to come and watch Gill play at Mohali. “Even some relatives from my village came to watch so it’s great to play in front of everyone,” remarked Gill.

In the previous match, Gill had hit 76 runs in Kolkata’s 34-runs win over Mumbai Indians at the Eden Gardens on April 28. Despite his young age, Gill knows to bat by maintaining the run rate and values the importance of partnership and rotating the strike.

Double century

After the win over Punjab, Gill said: “It was important to build partnership. I was striking it at 80-100 but the run-rate was still going around 9-10, so that’s when I decided I had to stay in there. We have one more match to go, and it would be very nice if we can win that and make it into the play-offs.”

Ever since Gill hit a double century in his debut match for Punjab in the 2014 Vijay Merchant Under-16 tournament, he has moved from strength to strength. So fast was his race to success that in 2018, Kolkata brought him for Rs 1.8 crore ($281,000 approx.). He went on to become the fourth youngest to score an IPL half century when he scored an unbeaten 57 against Chennai Super Kings last year.

Kolkata skipper Dinesh Karthik is happy that promoting Gill as an opener has proved to be a great move. “It’s fair that we have given Gill a chance at the top of the order, and he has grabbed the opportunity with both hands,” said Karthik.

Gill’s ability to make full use of the opportunities and the quality in him to refuse to give his wicket away can lift him to more glory.