Ravi Shastri believes that Shumban Gill, who has been in sublime form in lead-up to the first Test, is here to stay in the long run irrespective of whether he finds a place in the starting XI in Wellington. Shastri further believes that ‘sky is the limit’ for the young duo of Gill and Prithvi Shaw.
Despite not featuring for the national team in coloured clothing, Shubman Gill has been the most impressive Indian batsman in Kiwiland, having accumulated 423 runs in just 3 innings for the touring India ‘A’ side in the four-day games against New Zealand A. And the injury to incumbent Test opener Rohit Sharma has now put Gill right in the mix to open in the first Test in Wellington, with him expected to face-off with his U19 skipper Prithvi Shaw for a spot in the starting XI.
The 20-year-old’s talent, technique, and temperament has caught the eye of many and one person who believes that the Punjab batsman will be a mainstay for the Indian team in the future is head coach Ravi Shastri, who also described Gill as a ‘wonderful talent’. Shastri added that Gill will be a regular part of the team ‘in the long run’ irrespective of whether he finds a place in the starting XI for the first Test in Wellington.
“What a wonderful talent. I have been watching him closely for two years now and the way he’s gone about it, it was only a matter of time before he got here. Whether or not he plays in this Test (Wellington), we know for sure that he’s here to stay,” Shastri told Times of India.
Gill will, of course, engage in a direct head-to-head battle with his teammate and U19 captain Prithvi Shaw to open alongside Mayank Agarwal in the first Test, and Shastri went on to label the duo as ‘supremely exciting talents’ and attested that sky was the limit for Shaw and Gill, both of who have already featured for India despite them yet to turn 21.
“Both (Gill and Shaw) are supremely exciting talents. Regardless of who gets into the XI in Wellington, the fact of the matter is they’re here, part of India’s national squad, and from here on they should know that the sky remains the limit,” the 57-year-old said.
Having won all seven games thus far, India sit mighty at the top of the World Test Championship points table with 360 points, with Australia (296) being the only threat to their reign up top. A victory in New Zealand would help Virat Kohli’s men all but put one hand in the final at Lord’s in 2021 and the India coach attested that qualifying for the final will be the team’s primary objective. Shastri also added that the team wishes to play like the No.1 side in the world, dismantling opponents by displaying ruthless aggression.
“We need 100 points to be in contention to play at Lord’s (in the World Test Championship final). Two overseas wins out of six Tests will keep us in good stead. We play six Tests overseas this year (two in NZ and four in Australia). So, that’s one objective.
“The other is to play like the world’s No. 1 Test team, because that’s what this team believes in more than anything else. On the Test front, that’s what we’re looking at.”