Shubman Gill smashed 204 in Christchurch and 136 in Lincoln to stake a claim in the Indian cricket team for the Tests. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Shubman Gill has been in fine form in the last one month. After scoring 100 against Vidarbha in the Ranji Trophy, Shubman Gill had a good time with a fifty for India A against New Zealand XI but in the two four-day games, the Punjab right-hander was in superb form. He smashed 83 and notched up a magnificent 204* at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch while he proceeded to smash 136 at Lincoln as the two four-day First Class games ended in a draw. Shubman Gill has made everyone take notice despite Shaw being firmly back in the mix for the upcoming two-match series starting in Wellington from February 21.
Shubman Gill and Prithvi Shaw, who is also in the mix for the two Tests, are considered the futures of the Indian cricket team and the Punjab youngster insisted that there was no fight with Shaw for spots in the Test team. "Obviously, our careers started at the same time but there is no fight as such. Both of us have done well in our positions. It's up to the team management, who they will play. It's not as if there is a fight. Whoever gets the chance will try to make the most of the opportunity and not let it go waste," Shubman said in the press conference that was held outside the team hotel in Hamilton.
Shubman has played in New Zealand for the last six weeks as part of the A team, Gill feels that if New Zealand's short-ball factor can be nullified, it would go a long way in helping the team. "I think their bowling attack has been taking a lot of wickets with the short ball, especially Neil Wagner. If you see the last series they played against Australia, when nothing was happening in the wicket, they were really relying on the short ball. As batsmen, if we could take that out of the picture and not give wickets to the short ball, it will be really helpful for us," Shubman observed.
The Test team is pretty settled but the absence of Rohit Sharma and not picking KL Rahul in the side has left one spot vacant in the opening spot. Either of Shaw and Shubman are expected to open the innings with Mayank Agarwal heading into the Test at the Basin Reserve. "It was nothing new to me when I was asked to open the innings. When you go at No. 4, already, you are two wickets down. That's a different scenario, a different pressure game. When you are opening the innings, you have to set the game for the whole team. That's a different thing. And when you are opening the innings, you have to set the base for the other batsmen coming in so that it will be easy for them," Shubman said.
Prithvi Shaw is expected to comeback to the Indian cricket team for the Tests against New Zealand. (Image credit: Getty Images)
With Shaw a natural opener and having scored a century on debut while opening the innings, Shubman would have to adjust to the opening slot as he is predominantly a middle order player. In the middle order, Shubman said it's about being cautious when the second new ball is taken. "...because you are playing at a certain flow and the ball isn't swinging that much. When they take the new ball, you have to be a little more cautious than you were before."
India will be playing the second Test in Christchurch at the Hagley Oval, a ground where he scored 83 and 204 not out in an A game. "I think the wickets here are really good to bat on, especially when we played in Christchurch. The only challenge that we were facing was the bounce which was really good and consistent," Shubman said.