Amid the poor run of form that stretched over 11 months, questions were raised on whether Shubman Gill should be at all considered when the likes of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul return to the format. That included former India head coach Ravi Shastri as well, who handed him a “Cheteshwar Pujara” warning after his dismissal for 34 in the first innings of the second Test against England in Visakhapatnam. But Gill responded in style with a second-innings century, his first batting at No. 3 for India, and third overall in Tests. Elated at the youngster’s knock, former India cricketer Yuvraj Singh served a strong response to his critics.
Gill had gone 12 innings without even a fifty to his name in the traditional format. And it could have very well been a 13th, had it not been sheer luck that saved him twice on Sunday when both Tom Hartley and James Anderson served him an lbw scare.
On Friday, when Gill had thrown away his wicket after making a positive start with a 34-run knock, Shastri sent out a timely reminder to the youngster, saying that Pujara, India’s previous No. 3 batter, has been scoring big runs in Ranji Trophy cricket and raring to make a comeback.
“It’s a fresh side, a young side. These youngsters have to prove themselves. Don’t forget, Pujara is waiting. He is grinding it out at the Ranji Trophy and is always in the radar,” he had said while on commentary.
Pujara, who last played for India in the WTC final in 2023, notched up a double ton against Jharkhand and followed iyt up with scores of 49, 43, 43, 66 and 91 in subsequent innings.
Gill, however, negated the early pressure and took off immediately after Anderson was taken off the attack, going after the English spinners. He soon got to his maiden fifty in 13 innings and converted it into a ton.
Thrilled at the much-awaited knock, Yuvraj took to social media to respond to Gill’s critics while praising him for a well-balanced century.
“Rising to the occasion once again and playing a well-balanced knock! Good to see the three digit mark. Well played my boy – let the bat do the talking,” said Yuvraj.
Gill’s 104 helped India set an emphatic target of 399 runs against England in the second Test.