IND vs ENG 4th Test: Shubman Gill learning to adapt to the new role as India’s No.3 batter | Cricket News

Feb22,2024



Ranchi: One of the most pleasing aspects of this series for India has been the way Shubman Gill has started to find his feet as No. 3. With his continued struggle to occupy that crucial spot in the batting order, Gill is learning to find the rare things. Strength. This is evident from his century in Vizag and 91 runs in the last Test in Rajkot.
In a situation previously dominated by veterans with rock-solid technique and an uncanny ability to handle pressure, the talented but often charming Gill has – in the last year or so – come dangerously close to being labeled a misfit.

In a way, the management's pat on the back over Gill's voluntary decision to take the spot vacated by Cheteshwar Pujara was India's own 'baseball' moment.

The team desperately needed someone in that position to take the game forward instead of playing catch-up.
Unexpectedly, after several failures, Gill became aware that the opposition had caught up with him. Instead of trying to climb out of the quagmire, or return to the warm comfort of white-ball glory, Gill has bit his teeth and toiled for endless hours in the nets. He has overcome the difficult path of playing the waiting game and rotating the strike. He has made small but difficult adjustments to muscle memory and technique. In doing so, Gill emerges from the fire and discovers new potential within himself.
Some luck also helped. As the caravan heads to the JSCA Stadium here, Gill can't definitely say that he has made the No. 3 spot his, but at least the road ahead looks promising.

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“It wasn't that I had never done this before. I batted at No. 3 and No. 4 in a few Ranji matches and for India 'A'. It is different when you are opening the innings. Don't get time to think. You are the one setting the tone. At number 3, you get a fixed position to bat. Might get some wickets in the beginning. You are playing accordingly,” Gill reminded everyone on Wednesday
From July 2023, his series of numbers at number 3 is 6, 10, 29*, 2, 26, 36, 10, 23, 0, 34, 104, 0 and 91. In his first 14 innings at No. 3 – he also batted at that position once, against New Zealand in December 2021 – Gill has scored 418 runs at an average of 32.15.
In contrast, Cheteshwar Pujara had scored 942 runs at an average of 78.5 in his first 14 innings at No. 3, which included two centuries apart from two double centuries. It's everything, but Gill believes he is close to breaking the mental attitude.
“Regarding my expectations, I was very disappointed. What I felt (pressure) in Vizag was different from what I felt in my previous matches playing for India. The situation was very different in Rajkot. It was a more calm and composed innings.
“The difference between great players and an average player is that you can forget whatever happened in the past – good or bad – and just focus on the ball. “You definitely have some expectations from yourself. But it's all about being able to forget it and move on from it as quickly as possible and be ready for the next ball,” he said.
Gill, the 'outsider' at No. 3, now knows there will be times when he will have to adapt to survive, perhaps even borrowing a few good lines from the more traditional theater of Test cricket, to take the game forward. He believes he is capable of it. And when it comes to batting in Ranchi, Gill will continue to find his feet.



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