Monday, Feb 06, 2023

When a 7-yr-old Shubman Gill left childhood coach ‘awestruck’ with his exquisite timing

Shubman used to play with a wooden bat, and there was a ball-sized hole in his bat, recalls his youth coach Sukhwinder Tinku.

The exquisite timing of Shubman Gill (extreme left standing) caught Sukhwinder Tinku's eye and it reminded him of left-handed Brian Lara. (Express Photo)
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When a 7-yr-old Shubman Gill left childhood coach ‘awestruck’ with his exquisite timing
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Lakhwinder Gill took his seven-year-old son, Shubman, to the nearest cricket academy from his home in Mohali. Sukhwinder Tinku, a former India under-19 cricketer, recalls the young trainee making an instant impact on him. The exquisite timing caught Tinku’s eye and it reminded him of left-handed Brian Lara, who he troubled him a lot during the 1988 Youth World Cup.

“He was the youngest in my academy. The timing of his shots was so good that out of curiosity, I called him up to check his bat,” Tinku told The Indian Express.

What Tinku found was extraordinary. “It was a wooden bat, not the one you get from the shops. His father has made one for him. Six inches from the bottom, there was a ball-sized hole in his bat. It left me awestruck. I was speechless. Lakhwinder then revealed that he made Shubman play 500 to 700 balls every day,” recalled Tinku.

Thereafter, Shubman trained under Tinku and it was in 2014 when Shubman Gill and Nirmal Singh, playing for Mohali, put on 587 runs for the first wicket in the Inter-District U-16 cricket tournament against Amritsar at the IS Bindra PCA Stadium in Mohali. Shubman scored 351, while Nirmal amassed 267.

Two things that stood out for Tinku in all these years while Shubman trained under him were his work ethic and his father’s role in his development. “First, his eagerness to learn. You don’t have to tell him twice. If you have taught him something today, next day he will fix it.

“Lakhwinder paaji played a massive role in his development. Once the nets are over, all the kids will go home, his father will stay there and will bowl throw-downs to him for the next 30-45 minutes,” recalled Tunku.

“I have not taught him anything special. He was a god-gifted talent and his eagerness to learn things was also exceptional. He has improved every day and he is still improving,” said Tinku.

Tinku reveals an interesting story about Shubman when he, for the first time, skipped training for two weeks.

“He is so innocent. After training under me for six months, without informing, he didn’t show for two weeks. When he returned, I asked him, ‘Where were you?’ He said, ‘Sir pind gaya tha (I have gone to my village). In a rude way I told him “Yahaan kya kar raha fir se chala ja (What are you doing here. Go back again to your village). With tearful eyes, he took his kit and slowly started going back. I rushed towards him, gave him a tight hug, and it took me 30 minutes to convince him that it was a only joke,” said Tinku.


“I don’t think we have still seen the best of Shubman Gill yet. It is just the beginning,” said a proud coach.

Shubman Gill has been scintillating in the recent home series against Sri Lanka and New Zealand. And over these matches, Gill has repaid the faith the team management showed in him and ended any needling doubt around his selection with scores of 70, 21, 116, 208 and 112.

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“Mai unki batting ka Mureed hun (I am a fan of Shubman Gill’s batting). Honhaar cricketer hai kaafi acha lagta hai usey khelta dekh kar (He is a talented cricketer and I enjoy watching him play),” said India captain Mohammad Azharuddin on Basit Ali’s YouTube channel.

First published on: 24-01-2023 at 16:56 IST
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