Exclusive: Dilip Vengsarkar reveals how Shubman Gill can produce a blockbuster IPL season

A great IPL season will also be a shot in the arm for Gill in the World Cup year


Rituraj Borkakoty

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Shubman Gill has been prolific for India across formats since the start of 2022. — AFP
Shubman Gill has been prolific for India across formats since the start of 2022. — AFP

Published: Thu 30 Mar 2023, 10:59 PM

Having played a key role in Gujarat Titans' triumphant campaign in the Indian Premier League last year with 483 runs, Shubman Gill will be eager to deliver his blockbuster IPL season as a batsman.

With a huge appetite for long innings, the Punjab lad is proving to be a bowlers' nightmare in international cricket, scoring 1796 runs at 57.93 with seven hundreds across formats.

Those runs have come off his bat with mesmeric touch play — a style of batsmanship that is based on timing and the ability to find the gaps with remarkable ease.

It's a style that has left many connoisseurs drooling.

One of them is Dilip Vengsarkar, the former Indian batsman who sees shades of his own elegant off drives in Gill's majestic style.

But for all his talent, Gill has yet to produce a big season in the IPL, even though his returns have been better in the last three years (478 runs in 2022, 483 runs in 2021 and 440 runs in 2020).

Now fresh off a prolific 15-month period in India colours, Gill might fancy his chances to become only the eighth batsmen to score 700-plus runs in an IPL season.

Can the 23-year-old hotshot rise to the league of batsmen that includes Virat Kohli, Jos Buttler, David Warner, Kane Williamson, Chris Gayle and Mike Hussey?

Vengsarkar reveals how Gill could earn a shot at joining the league of superstars.

"The format is such that for an opening batsman like him, the first six overs are very important. You play a lot of shots where the margin of error is very small. If he clicks in the first six overs, he can play those long innings regularly in this IPL," Vengsarkar told the Khaleej Times on the eve of the opening IPL clash between Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings.

A great IPL season will also be a shot in the arm for Gill in the World Cup year.

"The ODI World Cup will be played later this year in India. It's a different format. But if he has a really big IPL in terms of runs, that will boost his confidence going into the World Cup," Vengsarkar said before revealing his admiration for Gill's shot-making ability.

"What I like about him is that he is an excellent striker of the ball, he is a very elegant player. He plays the short ball so well. He has got that short-arm jab, when he pulls that ball close to his body, short of length ball towards the mid-wicket. I think that's a brilliant shot he has got in his repertoire."

Vengsarkar first heard of Gill when the latter impressed one of his former India teammates with those short-arm jabs at junior level.

"I was told about Shubman Gill by Karsan Ghavri way back when he was playing in under 14 tournaments in Chandigarh," Vengsarkar recalled.

"Karsan Ghavri was a bowling coach at the National Cricket Academy, he needed batsmen to bat against his bowlers, so one day he saw Gill batting and he was very impressed.

"At that time, he told me that there is a lad who would play for India. He is India material!"

Vengsarkar, who famously made a young MS Dhoni India captain back in 2007 during his stint as the chairman of selectors, now sees a future captain in Gill.

"He is an exceptional talent and I believe he should be groomed for India captaincy," the former Indian captain said.

"I have not interacted with him, but from what I have seen, his approach to the game is very good. I think he will make a very good captain if they groom him well."


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