Shubman Gill is bossing international cricket in 2023. The 23-year-old has three ODI hundreds this year including a double ton, one T20I century and now a Test hundred. We are talking five centuries in less than three months, that tells you how good he has been of late.
Prior to his knock of 128 on day three of the fourth and final Test against Australia in Ahmedabad, the right-handed opener had nine 30-plus scores but only managed to touch the triple-figure mark once.
"There was phase in the middle when I was scoring 40s and 50s (52 and 44 against New Zealand in 2021) and getting out and when I played the one-off fifth Test in England, I scored some 20 odd (17) and I got out early in that innings,” said Gill after scoring his first Test century at home.
"I got a feeling that as soon as I was getting set, I was getting over-defensive and over-cautious. I was thinking now that I have got set, I will have to bat as long as possible. I was putting myself under too much pressure and that is not my game.
"Once I get set, then I get into a sort of rhythm and that's my game. So I had to tell myself that if I get dismissed while playing my natural game, then it is fine. But the problem was I was getting out playing the type of game that doesn't come naturally to me.”
Gill said he would rather get out playing an attacking brand of cricket than lose his wicket while trying to defend. "If I get out trying to play a shot after getting set, I can accept that dismissal, because that's a shot and my execution wasn't proper. But if I get out playing a game which isn't my style then it becomes unacceptable to me.
"So I had to tell myself that I shouldn't put too much pressure on myself when a situation like this arises next time, that I must convert now that I am set. I needed to keep it a bit free-flowing. It was more about mental make up and I focussed on that primarily."
After Australia posted 480 on a dead batting surface, India reached 289/3 at the end of day three, still trailing by 191 runs. Gill, however, said the run-scoring wasn’t easy on this pitch. “I think on wickets like these, it is difficult to score runs fluently but it is also important that on these wickets you need to be positive and keep looking for those singles."
Talking about his crisp drives and pull shots, Gill explained: “I think one of those shots that automatically develops when you play bouncer. I am used to playing bouncers with a plastic ball on cement surfaces and the balls which were a little fuller.
"It developed as I practised it over and over (again) and it was more instinctive than anything else."
Gill smashed 12 fours and a six but took 235 deliveries to score 128. The right-hander went out with a simple approach, that is not to play cross-batted shots.
"You have to remind yourself constantly that things are going well because there was a phase where we didn't hit a boundary for the longest time and at that time, you had to tell yourself that it's okay if you are not getting runs now but if you stick to your processes then there will be an over where you will get 2-3 boundaries.
“So the process is not to lose patience, you can get out but also you might be able to get boundaries."