Shubman Gill received his maiden Test call-up in place of KL Rahul in the India Test side for the series against South Africa in October. But is the 20-year-old ready for the big stage and was dropping Rahul justified? Let us have a look at what the numbers say.
🚨 JUST IN 🚨@RealShubmanGill earns maiden #TeamIndia Test Call up for the 3⃣ Test series against South Africa
Send in your wishes for the young gun 💪#TeamIndia #ShubmanGill #KorboLorboJeetbo pic.twitter.com/IhGJrcsMRM
— KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) September 12, 2019
Rahul, after having seemingly cemented his place as one of India’s openers in the Test side, has suffered a dip in form recently. Even more disappointing than his run of form has been how short of confidence he has looked.
On the recent tour of the West Indies, Rahul had scores of 38, 44, 6 and 13. What is more troubling, is how susceptible he has looked whenever the ball has been dug in short by the pacers.
Time and again he has been guilty of poking at the ball and then pulling his shot back at the last moment. A change in batting stance since the last year is perhaps playing on his mind too.
Over the last two years, Rahul’s Test average is 22.23 in 15 Test matches. In the same period, he has managed to score just one century, against England, and a solitary 50 against Afghanistan. His batting average, which was 44.62 before this lean run, is now 34.58.
On the other hand, Gill’s time for reckoning has come. As Ian Bishop said on commentary during the recent series between India and West Indies, the Indian selectors needed to pick him “while he is hot”.
Representing India A in the Caribbean, before the series between India and West Indies, Gill smashed a double century – scoring an unbeaten 204 in 248 balls at a strike rate of 82.25.
However, chief selector MSK Prasad has said that Rohit Sharma will be opening for India in the home Test series against South Africa.
Meanwhile, Gill, who has always said he prefers to open the innings, has an impeccable record in first class cricket. As an opener, he has scored 1072 runs in 16 innings at an average of 76.57, with three centuries and a best of 268.
The Test series between India and South Africa begins on October 2. The first match of the series will be held in Vizag, followed by the second in Pune and third in Ranchi.
Only time will tell if Gill can pounce on this opportunity that has been handed to him because of circumstances and his own brilliant run of form.