Not long ago, Shubman Gill wasn’t even part of India’s ODI squad when Ishan Kishan, whom he called “one of my best mates in the side” tonight, smashed a double hundred. The innings generated a fair amount of traction, not just because it was an incredible knock laced with power-hitting but also because it came in the lead up to a home World Cup for India. But the turn of the year saw Gill launch himself back into the side and regain the team management’s trust, and to the extent that he was picked as an opener for the ODIs against Sri Lanka. The selection call saw Kishan dropped in the match after his double hundred.
Gill’s 208 off 149 balls against New Zealand in Hyderabad made him the youngest batter to score an ODI double hundred in senior men’s cricket, a record that had hitherto been with Kishan albeit for less than 40 days. It was his second consecutive hundred too.
“Yeah, it’s amazing,” Gill said about joining Kishan in the 200-club. “He’s one of my best mates in the team and it’s amazing to be able to spend time with him. I was there when he scored his double hundred and it felt amazing.”
One of the features of Gill’s innings was his six-hitting, an aspect of his game that has often held him back in the shortest format. But on this occasion, he was at his fluent best and hit nine sixes in total, with three of them coming off successive balls to deliver him the double ton.
“I was waiting very eagerly to, you know, go out there and do what I want to do,” Gill said. “And with the wickets falling, you know, there were times when I wanted to unleash. But I got my moment when we had the last three or four overs left and I wanted to get some sixes under my belt and I’m happy that it paid off today.”
A lot of Gill’s big shots came after a wicket fell for India. Was it a conscious tactic? “Yeah,” he said. ” Sometimes when the bowler is on top, you have to get them under pressure. Because if they are not feeling any kind of pressure, it’s easier for them to create more dot balls. So that was my plan, you know, when the bowler is trying to get on top of me, just try to hit the gap, hit it hard, show some intent to the bowler.
“I wouldn’t say it (hitting the big shots) was a wow feeling but it feels nice when, you know, you’re wanting to do something, when you’re wanting to hit the gaps, when you’re wanting to hit the sixes, and it’s coming off on a regular basis. There’s definitely some kind of satisfaction in that.”
Gill said that he started thinking about a double hundred only in the 48th over, when he hit a couple of sixes off Blair Tickner. For a few overs before that, Shubman seemed to have hit a pause button but it all unfurled into a full array of shots, with the ball flying in different directions at Uppal.
“I mean (the double ton) sunk in pretty well, you know, when Bracewell started hitting those sixes,” Shubham said with a smile, “and the game went closer than what I expected. But yeah, this is definitely, you know, one of those things. This is what dreams are made of.”