Ahmedabad (Gujarat) : Another day, another batting masterclass from India and Gujarat Titans (GT) batter Shubman Gill. For this 23-year-old batter from Punjab, who is often hailed as the successor of legendary Virat Kohli, there is a venue that has been a happy hunting ground, just like Adelaide Oval has been for Virat and many stadiums worldwide have been for the ‘God of Cricket’ Sachin Tendulkar.
That ground is the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Gill’s love affair with the ground started during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 final against Rajasthan Royals. Playing for Gujarat Titans in their maiden season, Gill was having his best season of his career after being released by Kolkata Knight Riders. Gill concluded the season perfectly with a match-winning six on an Obed McCoy delivery in the 19th over, finishing off the 131-run chase. The batter finished the season with 483 runs in 16 matches and a total of four half-centuries at an average of over 132.32.
After that match, Gill started to get more chances as an opener with Team India in Tests and ODIs, especially the latter. The Punjab batter made the most of these chances, scoring centuries and half-centuries consistently. With every picture-perfect drive, with every short arm jab or lofted hit, Gill’s class started to stand out in every match in which he turned up with big numbers.
During the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia this year, Gill smashed his first-ever Test century in the home conditions of India. He toyed with the likes of Nathan Lyon, Matthew Kuhnemann, Cameron Green, Mitchell Starc etc to smash 128 off 235 balls, which consisted of 12 fours and a six. This was also his second Test century. The match ended in a draw.
Before IPL 2023, Gill was also handed his T20I debut during a series against Sri Lanka earlier this year. After a disappointing string of scores, fans called for him to be given more matches in ODIs and Tests and for someone better to be called into the T20I side. It seemed that Indian colours were not meant to be worn by Gill for too long in the game’s shorter format, where he played mostly as an anchor, accumulating runs while letting others express themselves with freedom.
Then came a T20I match against New Zealand. Right from the ball one of the final T20I, Gill was on a mission. He tore a NZ line-up consisting of Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, Lockie Ferguson and Ish Sodhi into a thousand pieces, smashing a match-winning 126* in 63 balls. His knock consisted of 12 fours and seven sixes. His knock pushed India to a match-winning total of 234, which NZ fell short of by a long margin, bundled out for just 66.
Ahead of IPL 2023, much was expected from Shubman Gill, who had smashed 980 runs in 17 international matches of 2023 with five tons and a fifty, including a double century against New Zealand in an ODI. Gill carried his form forward into Gujarati colours, smashing a match-winning 63 off 36 balls against four-time champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
Gill continued his form in subsequent matches and with an explosive 94* in 51 balls against Lucknow Super Giants consisting of two fours and seven sixes at a strike rate of over 184, Gill gave yet another statement of what he can offer as an all-format batter.
With this knock, Shubman raced to the third spot in the race for the Orange Cap. In 11 matches, he has scored 469 runs at an average of 46.90 and a strike rate of over 143. He has four half-centuries in the IPL 2023.
In his total of 10 T20 matches at the venue, Gill has slammed 526 runs at an average of 75.14 and a strike rate of over 152. He has scored three fifties and a century, with best score of 126*.
Only time will tell if the stadium becomes synonymous with Gill’s name as much as Adelaide Oval, Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium are with Virat Kohli.