Shubman Gill made his Test debut during the India-Australia high-voltage Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020/21. His scores of 45, 35*, 50, 31, 7, 91 were met with huge applause from many across the cricketing fraternity as the youngster looked in complete control against a daunting Australian bowling line-up with his technique and composure.
However, Gill has failed to live up to expectations since then. Playing his first-ever Test series on home soil, the 21-year-old youngster fell like nine pins in the four Tests versus England — with scores of 29, 50, 0, 14, 11, 15*, 0. To add to his woes, he managed only 132 runs in 7 outings for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the now-indefinitely-postponed IPL 2021 edition. In addition, his strike rate remained at an abysmal 117.87.
Ahead of India’s next international assignment — which is the ICC World Test Championship final versus New Zealand followed by five Tests against England — former Indian opener-turned-commentator Sunil Gavaskar decoded Gill’s failures.
“I think what I feel about Shubman Gill is that suddenly, the pressure of expectation is getting to him. Before this, it was different. He was just a young promising newcomer, but now with the performances in Australia, the expectation is that he is going to score, and maybe that pressure of expectation is weighing him down,” Gavaskar said on Star Sports.
The Little Master further opined, “He just needs to relax. He is just a 21-year-old kid. There will be failures and he has to learn from those failures. He’s just got to open and play freely, without worrying about expectations. The runs will come if he plays his natural game. Trying to play across the line and trying to score off every delivery because of the pressure of expectation, he’s actually getting himself out.”