England won the first Test of the five-match series against India despite conceding a lead of 190 runs in the first innings. It was one of the best come-from-behind victories in the history of Test cricket. As for the hosts, their frailties have been exposed with this loss and while the entire team is under criticism, Shubman Gill is at the top of it due to his poor form batting at number three.
Ever since, he has been moved to number three spot in Test cricket permanently, Gill has mustered only 142 runs in nine innings with the highest score being 36. Moreover, his confidence seems to be nowhere close to where it is in white-ball formats. Former India head coach Anil Kumble has opened up on the youngster highlighting the issues in his batting especially while facing spin. He also noted that the 24-year-old has to find his own way to tackle the problem and how he needs to change his technique.
“He needs to be a lot freer. He needs to score runs. He needs to come up with his own plan of action to tackle spin because he has hard hands. It’s good for good surfaces where the ball is coming on nicely and the faster bowlers are bowling at you. But when the ball is turning, when it’s slow, you need to use your hands and control and check your shots. That’s something he needs to work on. It can’t be one flow all the time. Yes, four days before the next Test, can you work on your skill? I think it’s all the mindset. You can certainly work on your mindset, and you have the best possible person as the coach (Rahul Dravid) to manage that for Shubman Gill,” Kumble added.
Before Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara used to bat at number three and played more than 100 Test matches for India before getting dropped after the World Test Championship final last year. Kumbe feels that Gill is being backed and is getting a cushion which Pujara didn’t get and also brought the fact to the light that it was the former himself who wanted to bat first drop in Tests.
“He has been given the cushion perhaps even a Cheteshwar Pujara didn’t get, because although he (Pujara) has played over 100 Tests, I keep coming back to him mainly because that was his place not too long ago. Pujara played in that World Test Championship final and post that, it’s been Shubman Gill, who’s been moving from the opener’s slot, and he himself wanted to bat at No. 3. So, when you want to bat at No. 3 especially in India because you have that talent, you certainly need to work on your game. He has the skills, he is young and he’s learning, but he needs to do it in Vizag, otherwise, the pressure will be on him,” Kumble said.