On Tuesday early morning, when 18-year-old Shubman Gill lifted his bat to celebrate his century against arch-rivals Pakistan in the ICC U-19 World Cup in New Zealand, Gill’s 82-year-old grandfather Didar Singh Gill was busy searching for Shubman’s first five bats at their home at Chak Jaimal Singh Wala village (also known as Chak Kherewala) in Fazilka district. Shubman has been India’s leading scorer in the tournament with a total of 341 runs, including one century and three half-centuries.
“Jad Shubman de father ne Mohali shift hone da faisla kita, main hi sari packing kiti si te truck ch sareya nu Mohali chad ke aya si. But main usnu purane bats nahi dete. Jad vi oh century landa hai, asi oh bats dekh lende han. (When Shubman’s father decided about shifting to Mohali for Shubman’s cricket career, I packed all their stuff and went on a truck with them to Chandigarh. I kept his old bats at the village. Whenever he hits a century, we see the bats,” said an emotional Didar Singh Gill while speaking to Chandigarh Newsline.
Shubman started his journey as a cricketer when he was three years old and trained initially at the village before his father Lakhwinder Gill shifted to Mohali in 2007. Shubman bagged the BCCI award for best U-14 and U-16 cricketer for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 season. It was the same year which saw Shubman smashing 351 runs and partnering Nirmal Singh in a world record opening partnership of 587 runs in ML Markan Trophy in 2014.
“Shubman was 8 years old when we shifted here. Sometimes when I would accompany him to the MCA nets, he had to wait for more than 2 hours for his turn to come. He would train with his friend Khushpreet Singh, whom he calls his brother. We would go to some schools in Mohali and Chandigarh to make him practise. Shubman also practised at his father’s friend Bhupinder Singh’s home, who had installed nets on his roof in Sector 48,” said 43-year-old Keart Gill, Shubman’s mother.
Last year, Shubman also became the fourth youngest Punjab player to score a First Class century in Ranji Trophy. Tuesday knock also saw Shubman’s elder sister Shahneel Kaur Gill following the knock from Canada, where she is studying. “We are so proud of him. All my friends in Chandigarh are calling me to congratulate. When we were kids, Shubman and Khushpreet would practise at our home with nets made of the lobby curtains in case of rain,” said 20-year-old Shahneel who is studying at University of Manitoba.
For agriculturalist father 46-year-old Lakhwinder Gill, who has seen Shubman mature, it was just a thing which Shubman had thought and did. “Jo cheez sochi thi, wahi kar ke dikhaya. Shubman was confident and had told us that he will aim for hitting a century in the semi-final match against Pakistan. We had a talk yesterday and he said papa, maine lamba khelna hai aur unke fast bowlers ko wicket nahi deni,” said Lakhwinder.
At the native village, Shubman’s grandmother Gurmail Kaur has made her preparations to welcome the prodigious son. “I have prepared special khoya from 20 litres of milk for him and mixed it with special dry fruits which he likes,” said Gurmail Kaur.