Former Indian cricketer Saba Karim believes that young Indian batter Shubman Gill is an ideal candidate to take Virat Kohli’s place in the first T20 game between India and Afghanistan. The Indian batting maestro made himself unavailable for the 1st T20I in Mohali due to personal reasons.
Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have returned to the T20 team after a year-long absence as their last game came against England in the 2022 World Cup semifinals. The 36-year-old will captain the team once more and lead them to the T20 World Cup 2024.
During a discussion with Sports18, Saba Karim backs Shubman Gill to bat at the NO.3 position for the Indian team in the absence of Virat Kohli and believes that Indian head coach Rahul Dravid will want to nurture young players who can contribute to the team across formats.
“At No. 3, you have to come to bat in the powerplay at times and sometimes after the powerplay, but your aim, in the end, should be to play big shots and accelerate as soon as you go in. I feel Shubman is capable of batting at No. 3.”
“In today’s era, I feel Rahul Dravid’s thinking will also be to develop young players who are multi-dimensional and multi-faceted and have the flexibility to bat at any number. So I feel Shubman is the ideal candidate to come in at No. 3 although he knows that he will get a limited number of chances,” Saba Karim said.
Following the 2022 T20 World Cup, Shubman Gill was regarded as India’s first-choice opener in T20Is in the absence of Rohit Sharma. He had an amazing IPL 2023, scoring 890 runs with a strike rate of 157.80, which boosted his reputation and solidified his place in the team.
If Virat Kohli Had Played Here, Shubman Gill Might Not Have Played – Pragyan Ojha
Pragyan Ojha remarked that Virat Kohli’s absence may help Shubman Gill secure a berth in the playing XI, which he might not have gotten otherwise because Yashasvi Jaiswal is likely to begin alongside Rohit Sharma, and that luck has favoured the Punjab batter.
“When you are playing for India, the most important thing is for you to get a chance. If Virat had played here, Shubman Gill might not have played because we know that Yashasvi is getting an opportunity.”
“I feel there isn’t too much difference between an opener and No. 3. The fearless way in which he plays, the strike rate we always talk about, he has taken that route. I feel it’s a God-given chance because this is the only T20 series before the World Cup,” Pragyan Ojha said.
Shubman Gill received the Player of the Tournament award in the 2018 U19 World Cup in New Zealand and impressed everyone with his performance in domestic cricket and IPL. Their outstanding performances in the cash-rich league earned them inclusion in the Indian team for all three formats of the game.