January 30 is a special for a cricketer who has made giant strides and is on the cusp of making an international debut. Shubman Gill, the star of India’s victorious Under-19 World Cup in 2018, could make his debut in the fourth ODI against New Zealand after Indian skipper Virat Kohli was rested for the last two games. The fact that he is making his debut in New Zealand is wonderful, considering that it was in the same country where he made a big name for himself during his exploits in the U-19 World Cup. On this day, he blasted a special century that made him a household name. The fact that it was against arch-rivals Pakistan made it even more special.
Shubman started the tournament on a high with a brilliant 63 against Australia which gave India a brilliant 100-run win. He followed it up with 86 against Bangladesh as India built momentum with a solid 131-run win and the stage was set for a brilliant match against Pakistan. In the semi-final at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, India A won the toss and chose to bat and they made a good start with Prithvi Shaw and Manjot Kalra sharing an 89-run opening stand. However, both fell in quick succession and it was left to Shubman to steady the innings.
India lost wickets at regular intervals but Shubman, along with Anukul Roy shared a 67-run stand. Shubman and Roy’s partnership boosted India and Roy was the more aggressive batsman in the partnership, finding the gaps at regular intervals. Shubman was on 98 when the final over began but India lost two quick wickets and the last man Ishan Porel, had the task of ensuring Shubman reached his century. The right-hander pounced on a no-ball from Mohammad Musa as he lofted a full ball to long off but the fielder spilled the chance. Shubman reached his century and the powerful celebrations showed how much it meant to him as India ended on 272/9.
In response, Porel ripped the Pakistan batting to shreds by picking up 4/17 and he was given good support from Shiva Singh (2/20) and Riyan Parag (2/6) helped India bowl out Pakistan for 69 to crush their arch-rivals by 203 runs. Shubman ended the tournament as the leading run-getter for the Indian cricket team.
Shubman’s glorious knock put him in the league of big names and with the fourth ODI tomorrow, a debut for Shubman could complete a remarkable journey for a cricketer who is touted as the next big thing in Indian cricket.