Young Indian opener Shubman Gill is bracing himself for the intense pressure of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, drawing from his experiences at the Asia Cup, where India faced arch-rivals Pakistan. Gill discussed the challenges posed by Pakistan, the impressive performance of their pace attack, and India’s preparation for the upcoming global cricket extravaganza.
Despite the India-Pakistan group-stage encounter at the Asia Cup being marred by rain and ending in a washout, it left cricket enthusiasts with much to ponder. One of the notable takeaways was the remarkable showing by Pakistan’s formidable pace attack and India’s batting struggles at the top of the order.
Shubman Gill, however, remained optimistic about India’s performance in the game and pointed out the positives. Speaking to reporters ahead of India’s Super Four encounter against Pakistan, Gill stated, “Even when our top-order didn’t work, we scored pretty well as per that wicket. At one stage, we were closing in on 300. So I think it was a good sign because we got to a competitive total despite our top-order not clicking.”
Gill recognized that the pressure and intensity of India-Pakistan encounters during the Asia Cup would be replicated in all nine games of the upcoming Cricket World Cup. He emphasized that each game in the tournament, regardless of the opponent, would be a must-win situation for the Indian team.
“I believe that we’ll face the same kind of pressure [as against Pakistan] in all the nine games of the World Cup. It won’t make a difference if we play against Afghanistan, Netherlands, or Pakistan. All games in the World Cup are must-win games for us. And we’ll face the same kind of pressure and nerves that we faced in that game [Asia Cup encounter against Pakistan] in all the nine games of the World Cup,” Gill affirmed.
Discussing the challenge posed by Pakistan’s new ball duo, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah, Gill highlighted their distinct strengths and how they can adapt to different conditions.
“Each bowler has their own speciality. Both bowlers are quite different. Shaheen does swing a lot more, whereas Naseem has the pace and sets good areas if the wicket is helpful. Because they are so different, they can pose different challenges in different conditions by playing different roles,” Gill explained.
Gill also had high praise for Pakistan’s skipper, Babar Azam, referring to him as a “world-class player” and acknowledging his contributions to the team’s success.
“We definitely look at Babar [as a special player]. If any player does well, then we look at the reasons for his success. He’s a world-class player. We look up to him and admire him,” Gill commented.
On a final note, Gill lauded his opening partner, India skipper Rohit Sharma, and their on-field chemistry. He highlighted how their contrasting playing styles make it challenging for the opposition to contain them.
“He’s someone who likes to take on the bowlers aerially, and I’m someone who plays along the ground in powerplay. So, I think that works quite well for us. We are both different [players], how we go about our shots and reading the playing situations. That makes it a bit difficult for the opposition to contain us,” Gill stated.
Looking ahead to the World Cup, Gill expressed confidence in the team’s clarity of roles and player positions. He emphasized that all players understand their roles and what is expected of them in various situations, making the Men in Blue well-prepared for the upcoming cricket spectacle.