I see potential in Shubman Gill being as big as someone like Virat Kohli or Sachin Tendulkar: Robin Uthappa

Written by Abhishek Patil

Opening batsmen Shubman Gill and Yashasvi Jaiswal have displayed exceptional form in the IPL 2023. Their outstanding performances have caught the attention of former Indian cricketer Robin Uthappa, who considers them as the future stars of Indian cricket.

Gill and Jaiswal have been neck and neck in the list of leading run-scorers, separated by just a single run. The current frontrunner in this list is Faf du Plessis, the captain of the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Both Gill and Jaiswal have registered a century and four half-centuries to their names. However, Jaiswal holds the edge over Gill in terms of boundary count and strike-rate.

“I definitely see potential in him (Gill) being as big as someone like Virat Kohli or Sachin Tendulkar. I certainly think he’s got the stuff; he’s a phenomenal player who is in exceptional form and is playing some great cricket at the moment. I certainly feel and believe personally that Shubman Gill and Yashasvi Jaiswal are the two next big things of Indian cricket,” said Uthappa, an IPL expert for JioCinema, in a select virtual media interaction.

With the 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup still more than a year away, both Gill and Jaiswal are making strong cases to be India’s opening pair, especially with their rise coinciding with Rohit Sharma’s dip in form. In IPL 2023, Rohit has scored 257 runs in 13 innings at an average of 19.77 and strike-rate of 131.12, with only one fifty against his name.
While stating that Rohit doesn’t need to take a break, Uthappa, who has won IPL trophies with Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders, wants the right-handed batter to get back to his previously successful approach instead of going hard from the word go.

“I don’t think there’s much wrong with his form to be honest as when he’s batting at the crease and playing, he’s playing like the Rohit Sharma we all love. The approach or template, that he calls it himself and chose it, is not necessarily working for him. Although it is the template which he’s chosen as captain of the Indian team, the uber-aggressive way of playing, I don’t think it works for Rohit Sharma the batter.”

“He’s been more successful with the tried-and-tested formula – starts sedately and capitalises or makes up for the initial time at the back-end. If he comes back to that form of batting, we will see him performing like we know how Rohit Sharma performs.”

“To be honest, he doesn’t need a break and it’s just a mindset shift in last few games – start sedately, not going after bowling in first over itself and then gone after the bowling post playing first few overs. You can see in that he’s batting like the Rohit we all know,” he added.

Asked if he sees any major changes in the make-up of the Indian team post IPL 2023, Uthappa remarked any shift in the set-up can happen post this year’s ODI World Cup, to be hosted by India in October-November.

“From my experience of Indian cricket, they will continue to go with experienced players because making wholesale changes this close to an ICC tournament (ODI World Cup) will not be wise. Form is always temporary and having said that, post the World Cup, we may see a lot of wholesale changes moving forward. But before that, we won’t see a lot of changes.”

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Abhishek Patil