Right from age-group cricket, to List A and Ranji Trophy cricket, to Under-19 World Cup and Indian Premier League (IPL) and now to the Indian team – Shubman Gill has seen a rapid ascent in his career graph. At a very young age, he has achieved several laurels and looks set for bigger things. This highly talented batsman was a largely unknown commodity until he played the junior World Cup in 2018.
He shot to fame with 418 runs at 104.50 and was the Player of the Tournament in the U19 World Cup. The youngster is a terrific runner between the wickets and is a live wire on the field. He has got a strong bottom-hand and has got all kinds of cricketing shots in his repertoire.
Gill, at times even eclipsed the team’s skipper Prithvi Shaw with his sheer talent and hard work. The 19-year-old surely has got a long way to go and could well represent India for many more years to come.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni might be in the twilight of his career and wicket-keeping stocks in India are up again. For almost 15 years, Dhoni was almost the undisputed master behind the stumps. There is another Ranchi player waiting in the wings for his opportunity. Ishan Kishan might not be the first-choice replacement but he is one of the names that is circling around the Indian domestic circuit as far as wicket-keepers are concerned.
Kishan made a name for himself when he was the captain of the India Under-19 team in the World Cup in 2016. After a low-key tournament with the bat, Kishan made sure he worked his way up the ranks with some consistent performances and it reflected in his IPL contracts in the last couple of years.
Hence, with Dhoni tipped to retire after the World Cup later this year, the 20-year-old may well get the opportunity to make it to the national team.
10 Interesting facts About Shubman Gill
1. Born on 8 September 1999
Shubman was born on 8 September 1999 to Lakhwinder Singh and Keart Gill in a small town named Fazilka in Punjab. He developed a keen interest in cricket at a very young age. His father is an agriculturalist and had a huge role in developing Shubman into the cricketer that he is today. It is said that as a kid, he never liked any toy other than the cricket bat.
2. The sacrifice
Lakhwinder Singh, a cricket enthusiast himself, wanted to play the game professionally when he was young. But lack of opportunities nipped his dream in the bud. But, he didn’t let the same happen with his son and became his first cricket coach. Although he was not a professional cricketer, such is Lakhwinder Singh’s cricketing nous that could give any coach a run for his money.
As the kid developed his interest in the sport, Lakhwinder helped him take his game to the next level. He hired help on the farm to give about 500 to 700 throwdowns per day. The boy was made to bat with a stump so that he could middle the ball better.
He was also made to play on a charpoy where the ball skids off. This helped his adept to playing fast bowlers well. In 2007, Lakhwinder moved his family from Chak Khere Wala – a village in Fazilka district – to Mohali for better cricketing facilities. Mohali was around 300km away from Lakhwinder’s village. Shubman to date consults his father for advice whenever in need.
3. Tough time balancing cricket and studies
Shubman surely didn’t want to let this sacrifice by his father go in vain. He practised for about four to five hours each day. His routine was to eat, gym, practice, yoga and sleep. Hence, he had a lot of trouble coping with academics.
He studied at the Manav Mangal Smart School in Mohali. His nickname is Shubhi and he also has an elder sister named Shahneel Kaur Gill.
4. Terrific show in domestic cricket
In 2014, Gill scored 351 runs in Punjab’s inter-district U16 tournament. He then went on to hit a double century in his U16 debut for Punjab in the Vijay Merchant Trophy. Soon, he made his List A debut in the 2016-17 Vijay Hazare Trophy and made his first-class debut in 2017-18 Ranji Trophy against Bengal.
Gill hit a half-century in this match and followed it with his maiden century in the next game against Services. The youngster won the BCCI award for Best Junior Cricketer in consecutive years in 2013-14 and 2014-15. He starred in India U19’s win at home against England in the youth ODIs scoring 351 runs in 4 innings.
India then toured England, whitewashed the hosts 5-0 and Gill was the top scorer again with 278 runs in 4 innings. By 1 January 2019, Gill scored 990 runs in just 14 first-class innings and reached 1,000 runs in his fifteenth innings.
5. The U19 World Cup 2018
Rewarding these brilliant performances, the selectors picked Gill for the U19 World Cup 2018. He was one of the most important members of the side. Except for the final, he hit fifty or above in all the other matches. His match-winning 102 not out against Pakistan drew praises from Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid.
The right-hander won the Man of the Match award thrice in the tournament and was also the Man of the Series. He was appointed the vice-captain of the team for the mega event back then. The ICC also named him the rising star of the squad.
6. The IPL chance
In the IPL 2018 auction, the right-hander was snapped up by the Kolkata Knight Riders. The franchise brought him for ₹1.8 crores and he made his debut against the Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Eden Gardens. Gill played a total of 13 games in the season and in 11 innings, he scored 203 runs at an average of 34 and strike rate of 146. He registered the highest score of 57 runs in the tournament.
7. Idolises Sachin and Virat
Shubman Gill idolises Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli. Although Sachin remains his all-time favourite, Kohli is his favourite from the current cricketers. “Obviously, my all-time favourite is Sachin Tendulkar. When I started watching cricket, he was a legend, he is still a legend and will remain one forever. But, now my favourite is Virat Kohli. I like his style, the way he carries himself and how he handles pressure. I would like to try and emulate him. It will be very difficult,” he said as quoted by Sportskeeda.
8. The superstition
Shubman believes in superstitions and there is a red handkerchief that he carries for every game that he plays. The story behind this unique superstition is that he carried a white handkerchief to one of the Under-16 games and scored a century. Prior to that, he was struggling with a string of low scores. But, since that got dirty, he carried a red one and scored one more ton. Since then, the notion has continued.
9. An opportunity to share the Indian dressing room
In order to let them play domestic cricket, the BCCI released Hanuma Vihari and Mohammed Siraj during the Windies series in 2018. They were replaced by Shubman Gill and Manish Pandey who were picked as the substitute fielders. Hence, the 19-year-old had a great opportunity to get a sense of the Indian dressing room and interact with some of the legends of the game. When he was informed about the same, Gill first thought that it was a prank call.
10. Only cricketer to average over 100 in Youth ODIs
Shubman is the only cricket who averages over 100 in Youth ODIs. In 16 games, this classy batsman had an opportunity to bat 15 times and scored 1,149 runs including four centuries. He averages 104.45 and has the highest score of 160.
10 Interesting facts About Ishan Kishan:
1. Born on 18 July 1998
Ishan Kishan was born on the 18th of July in 1998 in Patna, Bihar. He wasn’t serious about cricket initially but his elder brother Raj Kishan helped him evolve into a professional cricketer. By profession, Ishan’s father Pranav Pandey is a builder who worked in Patna.
2. Left school for cricket
We’ve come across various cricketers who struggled in life and couldn’t cope up with multiple things. Ishan Kishan is one such example. The Patna-born player couldn’t maintain the balance between cricket and studies. Hence, he eventually had to give up school due to attendance shortage. He used to study in a well-reputed institution, Delhi Public School. But because of his hectic cricket schedule, he couldn’t cope up with both and thus, gave up studying.
3. School cricket
The Under-19 World Cup was not the only World Cup Ishan Kishan took part in. In fact, he was a part of a School World Cup when he was just seven years old. He was the captain of his school during that School World Cup in Aligarh. However, his team didn’t go a long way and were knocked out in the super eight stage.
4. The shift from Bihar to Jharkhand
Ishan grew up in Patna, Bihar and played quite a bit of cricket there. However, the dispute between the Bihar Cricket Association and the BCCI meant that the former lost its affiliation. Hence, to continue his cricketing career, Kishan had to move from Patna to Ranchi (Jharkhand). The left-hander went for the Under-19 trials in Ranchi and was picked right away.
5. Idolises MS Dhoni and Adam Gilchrist
Like every modern day wicket-keeper, Ishan Kishan has a couple of big and common names as his idols. Former Australian wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist and former India skipper MS Dhoni are two players who he followed very closely.
6. Led India to the final of the Under-19 World Cup in 2016
India’s Under-19 teams have done really well in the Under-19 World Cups ever since the inception of the tournament. Ishan Kishan led one such side in 2016. That year India didn’t lift the title but went all the way till the final, only to lose against the Windies. With the bat, Kishan had a tournament to forget as he made just 73 runs in six innings. However, his captaincy was very good as India won every game barring the final in that World Cup.
7. A road accident which almost kept him out of the Under-19 World Cup
Off-field events and controversies are a part and parcel of a sportsperson’s life. But some recklessness can cause massive damage and something similar almost happened with Ishan Kishan. Just before the Under-19 World Cup in 2016, Kishan was involved in a road accident along with his father. His car, moving at a high speed hit an autorickshaw in Patna.
The then 17-year-old got into a fight with the people who were present at the accident. He was arrested after the incident as he was booked for reckless driving. However, he shrugged off this off-field controversy to lead India in the Under-19 World Cup a couple of weeks later in Bangladesh.
8. The whopping IPL deal
Ishan Kishan was bought by the Gujarat Lions (GL) ahead of the 2016 season for a sum of INR 35 lakhs. However, he didn’t have a great start to his IPL career. Across two seasons, the Jharkhand wicket-keeper played 16 games and scored 319 runs. However, in the 2018 auctions, Mumbai Indians broke the bank as they bought the left-handed wicket-keeper batsman for a stunning sum of INR 6.2 crores. In the 2018 IPL, he played every single game but was inconsistent. However, he showed glimpses of his talent and displayed what he could do.
9. 3rd youngest player to hit an IPL fifty
Ishan Kishan had a terrible start to his IPL career. He could muster a mere 42 runs in five innings in his debut season in 2016. In 2017, he constantly got starts but couldn’t convert them. However, in the final game of the group stages, Kishan became the third youngest player (fourth now) to score a fifty in the IPL. Opening the batting, the left-hander scored 61 off 40 balls as he gave Gujarat Lions a very good start alongside Dwayne Smith.
10. Holds the record for the highest individual score in Ranji Trophy by a Jharkhand player (273)
After a disappointing Under-19 World Cup campaign, Ishan Kishan hit his straps in the following Ranji season. He scored 799 runs at an average of 57.07. He scored a scintillating 273 in a game against Delhi that season. That was the highest score by a Jharkhand player in the history of Ranji Trophy cricket. Coming in at 80/4, Kishan dominated the Delhi attack as he struck 21 fours and 14 sixes in his 336-ball knock.