The 21-year-old Gill, one of the batting mainstays of new IPL franchise, in an exclusive interview to PTI spoke on various subjects, including his strike-rate in T20 cricket, preferred batting position, World T20 and how he is a firm believer in “pouncing on second chances”.
Excerpts from the Interview:
Q: What kind of adjustments you need to make while playing for Gujarat after four seasons with Kolkata Knight Riders?
A: It’s obviously special if you get retained by any team but I haven’t given much thought about adjustments, now that I am with Gujarat Titans. It will be a great challenge for me as it’s a new franchise and Ashu bhai (head coach Ashish Nehra) and Gary Kirsten (Mentor) are great people to be around. I have just had a brief conversation with them and they seem to be great people. I am confident we will do fine as team.
Q: You have batted as an opener from the third season but are you ready to be flexible if the new team needs you to be?
A: I started my IPL career with KKR batting at numbers 6 and 7. The first whole year (2018), I batted at No. 6 and may be once, if I remember did I open the innings in 14 games. I think I batted at No. 4 once that season.
In the second year, I batted at No. 7 and it was the third year really, when I got to open the batting. If you ask me what I prefer, I would love to bat at the top-order but if the team wants me to do a different role, I game for that.
Q: Did the long lay-off from injury allow you to work on any aspects of your batting?
A: I did work on a couple of batting specifics at the NCA. I got the opportunity to work on my batting a bit and I have learnt a couple of new shots. I worked extensively on my technique with coaches at NCA.
Q: So Shubman that we know, prefers copybook technique even when he plays attacking shots. Will this IPL bring about any change or there is particular reason for sticking to basic grammar of batting manual?
A: There isn’t a particular reason. It’s just that I back my strengths to be able to hit the bowler over his head rather than trying to be cheeky.
But yes, as a player, I should be capable of playing any shot in the book and on some particular wickets, it’s difficult to hit bowlers down the ground. As a player, I am trying to learn more shots and how to be able to play all over the ground. You might see me play some cheeky shots in this IPL.
Q: Would there be extra pressure to perform as Team India’s T20 top-order slots look more or less settled? How does it change your approach for Titans?
A: Not really (doesn’t change anything). It is because I feel as a player what’s most important for me is to do my job well for the team (Gujarat Titans) and I think if I am able to do well, then it is also doing well for myself.
And if we (GT) go on to play the play-offs and reach the final, I might get a chance to play for India in WT20.
Q: Your career strike rate is 124-plus and something that critics have pointed out. Do you feel any added burden to change that?
A: I feel you have to close yourself from all the critics and do what the team wants from you. As a player, I should be able to play under any given situation. If my team wants me to bat at 160, 180 or even 200 strike-rate, I should be able to do that.
But if my team wants me to soak in the pressure in a tough situation and wants me to go at 110 strike-rate, I should be able to do that as well, being flexible in all situations.
As long as I am able to do that I am really happy and not focus on what people have to say.
Q: What is your process of internalising disappointments? How does your mind work and how do you seek solutions?
A: What really motivates me when I am not able to perform is the next opportunity that comes along. I am always looking forward towards that next opportunity – both for myself and for my team.
I will give you an example. When I was injured, I was really looking forward to what we have next, and IPL was coming up.
During 2021, I had really bad first phase of IPL in India and also as a team, we hadn’t done well. But knowing that we have another opportunity to make a comeback, may be winning six out of seven games, that challenge motivated me (KKR reached the title clash).
When I was going through that bad phase and then when phase two came, I thought this is my opportunity to correct myself. This is my chance to pounce on an opportunity and make most of it. I would keep thinking about that during my time at NCA.