KL Rahul defends struggling Shubman Gill after youngster’s another failure in no.3 role

Image Source : AP KL Rahul and Shubman Gill against England on Day 2 of 1st Test on January 26, 2024

Indian batters continued their dominance in the ongoing Test against England by adding 302 runs on Day 2 and stretching their lead to 175 runs on Friday. KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja recorded brilliant eight-plus knocks with the latter still remaining at the crease when umpires called stumps at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.

However, India added only four runs on Day 2 when they lost young Yashasvi Jaiswal who brilliantly scored 80 off 74 balls. Gill also walked out cheaply after scoring just 23 runs off 66 balls. Gill’s poor form in red-ball cricket continues as he struggles to adapt his no. 3 role.

The 24-year-old batter came to bat on Day 1 when India lost Rohit Sharma after a quickfire start. Gill survived one close lbw appeal on Thursday and seemed unsettled throughout his innings on Friday. He did manage to add crucial 36 runs for the third wicket with KL Rahul but it was the latter who was dominating the field in Hyderabad. 

Gill has managed to score only 189 runs in nine Test innings played at the no.3 role at a poor average of 23.62. His overall batting average has also dipped to 30 as he struggles to display a similar form he is showing in white-ball cricket. 

The former English star Kevin Pieterson highlighted Gill’s struggles in a new role when he was talking to Rahul at the end of the day’s play. Rahul defended his teammate and said that the youngster was trying to defend his wicket after walking out in the last session.

“When it comes to Shubman, I think he walked in yesterday in a situation where he had to defend his way to the end of the day’s play,” Rahul told Kevin Pietersen on the sidelines. “Sometimes when you get into a mindset like that, you might find it hard to break free. And I could sense even today that he wanted one shot just to break the shackles and just to make him feel good.”

Rahul also defended Gill’s approach of trying to break free with a big shot and finding a fielder, saying the rising star will get better.

“Like I said, he will get better. He is a top-class cricketer. He does play spin really, really well. We’ve seen that in white-ball cricket. It’s about time that he learnt from it. I mean, you know, I’m sure he didn’t want to get himself into a situation where he had to go over the top or had to play a shot just to break free. But yeah, that happens to all batters. And I’m sure he’s already there thinking about what he’ll do in the next one,” Rahul added.

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