Shubman Gill was one of the finds for India in the recently concluded Test series against Australia. After making his debut in the second Test, the 21-year-old opener went on to make 259 runs for India in just 3 matches at an average of 51.8. Apart from his impressive numbers, the confidence with which he played the dreaded Australian pace attack was a treat to watch as he nonchalantly kept depositing short-pitched deliveries to the fence.
In the fourth and decisive final Test, Gill came into his own in the final innings as he set the tone for a late assault by Rishabh Pant by laying the foundation with a terrific knock of 91. With his performances, it looks evident that the young opener has cemented his place in the Indian Test XI. Plaudits and appreciations have kept flooding in for Gill and the Punjab cricketer opened up about his childhood fear of bouncers.
‘I always wanted to get away from the line of the ball’
Shubman Gill spoke to his IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders about the fear and said, “When I was young, I used to be petrified of bouncers. I used to be prepared for the chest-height balls way in advance. I used to practise drives a lot so I got mature in playing the pull shot with a straight bat. I also developed one more shot where I move back a little to play the cut. I used to feel scared of short deliveries so I always wanted to get away from the line of the ball to play the cut shot. These two-three shots were my favourite as a kid and now they have become a part of me.”
“When you get hit by a ball, your fear disappears. You are only scared until you get a blow but once you get hit, you feel like it was pretty normal! And then you lose the fear entirely,” the youngster added.
He then recalled an incident in his childhood that helped him overcome his fears. “I was 9 years old when I was asked to play in a higher age group match. There was a bowler in the academy who was really fast. I was batting against him and was scared that I would get a bouncer to start with. So, I had pre-decided that I would just duck it.
He tried to bowl a bouncer but instead ended pitching it up. I realised this but still squatted and saw the ball hitting the edge of my bat to go the boundary. I realised he was not that fast after all. Soon I hit 2-3 more boundaries. This helped me raise my confidence level. This incident just eliminated all kinds of fear from my heart for leather balls and bouncers,” Gill concluded.
Gill will next be seen in action in England’s tour of India which begins on February 5 with the first Test in Chennai.