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There's extra pressure while facing Pakistan, admits Shubman Gill

Last updated on 09 Sep 2023 | 10:34 AM
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There's extra pressure while facing Pakistan, admits Shubman Gill

The India batter scored a pain-striking 32-ball 10 in the group stages of the Asia Cup 2023 against Pakistan

Shubman Gill struggled to get going in India's opening game against Pakistan in the Asia Cup 2023, where he managed a pain-striking 32-ball 10. The two teams will clash again on Sunday (September 10) in Colombo, and the batter admits that there was extra pressure on him as he was playing their arch-rivals for the first time at this level.

With the rain threat looming large, there will be a reserve day for the fixture. If rain plays a part, the match can continue the following day. Mind you, this is the only fixture for which a reserve day has been put in place, something that did not go down well with Sri Lanka head coach Chandika Hathurusingha.

In order to counter the Shaheen Afridi threat, India have had a throwdown specialist to help them counter the angle. 

Speaking at a press conference ahead of the game, Gill said, "Having a left-arm throwdown specialist does help a lot. It helps in preparing for the angle. Playing Pakistan was different. It was my first game, and there was extra pressure...but at the World Cup, every game is pressure, and to get used to that here against Pakistan helps us."

Gill's form has been under scrutiny of late, but he bounced back with an unbeaten 67 against Nepal. "Sometimes there is no technical, and it is about bowlers being good.. you can't change something because you don't perform in a match. You have to trust the process and game and take it forward," Gill said.

"There is no confusion on role clarity. We understand it well and know the situation as well.. we know which position we will be batting, and we are preparing accordingly. At this level, you would have faced left-arm pacers. Whenever we come across a new bowler, it makes a difference. We don't play Pakistan and are not used to them."

Gill believes it is important to lay a foundation for the innings as an opener. However, despite not being able to do so in the previous meeting, the batter feels putting up a decent total on the board was a good sign.

"Openers need to make a good start and need to dominate them from the beginning," he said.

"In the league match, our top-order did not click much, still we made a competitive, it was a good sign."

On his experience of opening with Rohit Sharma, Gill said, "He is someone who likes to take on the bowlers...I like to play more shots on the ground, and we complement each other. Since we are different types, it can get difficult for opposition."

'Helpless' is the word that springs to everyone's mind when asked about the rain factor. Pakistan skipper Babar Azam is no different.

"Rain is not in our rained for a few days, but today it is clear..we have been training hard. We have to take care of the players because there is a lot of travel and matches. It is important to keep them happy and in a relaxed mind," Babar said ahead of the India clash.

With so much travel for the tournament, from Multan to Lahore to Pallekele to now in Colombo, Babar says that the practice sessions were planned around it.

"We are travelling, but it is how it is. We know it from the beginning, and we have planned accordingly. We have planned our sessions and recovery in alignment with that...we have to play matches, and there is very little quick around. We know the conditions, having played in LPL, Afghanistan, and now this, we know how it is," the Pakistan skipper added.

Babar also feels that his side has a side advantage, given the amount of time his side have spent in Sri Lanka over.

"You can say we have the edge, as we have played back-to-back cricket here [in Sri Lanka] and in Pakistan," Azam told reporters.

"It has been two-and-a-half months in Sri Lanka including the Test series, Lanka Premier League, Afghanistan series and now the Asia Cup. So you can say it will be an advantage [for us]."

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