Updated: December 4, 2017 9:34:26 am
A week after he became the fourth youngest player for Punjab to hit a first class century in Ranji Trophy, Mohali youngster 18-year-old Shubman Gill was named as the vice-captain of the Indian U-19 team for the ICC U-19 World Cup to be played in New Zealand in January next year. Gill will don the responsibility of vice-captain for the Prithvi Shaw-led 16-member team which also has Chandigarh cricketer medium-pacer 18-year-old Arshdeep Singh.
“It is a new path. Being named as vice-captain of the Indian U-19 team for the ICC U-19 World Cup is a different feeling. I am currently in Mumbai where we played Challenger Trophy and we will join the camp on December 7. Becoming the fourth youngest centurion for Punjab in Ranji Trophy last month meant a lot for me. Harbhajan Singh paji boosted my confidence during the match. Our Punjab coach Ajay Ratra too has been a motivational force. Bagging the man of the series award in England earlier this year also meant a lot to me,” said Gill, who had scored 278 runs in four ODI games, including a century during England tour in August.
Son of agriculturist Lakhwinder Singh and Kirat Gill, who shifted to Mohali from their village, Jaimal Singh Wala, near Jalalabad in 2007, Gill bagged the best U-16 cricketer BCCI award in 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 and scored 1018 runs in U-16 Vijay Merchant trophy in 2014-15, followed by more than 500 runs in Cooch Behar Trophy last year. In 2014, Gill had made a world record 587-run partnership along with Nirmal Singh in Punjab U-16 tournament. A side sprain meant that the youngster missed Punjab’s opening matches in Ranji Trophy before he played a knock of 129 against Services in Amritsar last month.
“He was little disappointed to miss Punjab’s opening matches but watched the matches at PCA Stadium. When he scored his first century in Amritsar, I drove from our village to Amritsar to watch him bat,” said 46-year-old Lakhwinder Singh, who is also the coach of his son.
Left-arm medium pacer 6 feet and two inches tall Arshdeep Singh, who started playing cricket five years ago under coach Jaswant Rai at GNPS School, Sector 36, claimed 13 wickets in Vinoo Mankad Trophy for Punjab apart from claiming 19 wickets in five matches for Chandigarh in Punjab Inter-District ODI Championship for DP Azad Trophy this year. Arshdeep also played for India Red in Challenger trophy this week where he picked up seven wickets, including a five-wicket haul. “The call-up to the Indian u-19 team means a lot. I have been aiming for this berth for the last two years and when my teammates told me about the selection, I called my mother Baljit Kaur. During the challenger trophy, I also clocked bowling at a speed of 140 kph and I am sure I can bowl better on New Zealand pitches,” said Singh.
Arshdeep’s father 54-year-old Darshan Singh works as chief security officer in DCM factory in Ropar and it was celebration time for the family at Kharar on Sunday. “I played cricket at U-16 level for Punjab and could not continue due to job. Arshdeep always wanted to be a medium-pacer and he has achieved what I could not. His elder brother works in Canada and they also celebrated his selection in Canada this morning,” said Darshan Singh.
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