The Hush Post: The fertile and once prosperous land of Punjab has never failed to produce stalwarts once in a while whether it is in sports, Bollywood, armed forces et al. The latest cricketing sensation Shubman Gill, a right-hand top-order batsman from Punjab, is currently playing against Pakistan in the semi-final of the Under -19 World Cup in New Zealand. India finished the innings at 272/9 in fifty overs, a very good score for a India-Pakistan semifinal, with Shubman hitting a century, the first hundred for India in the tournament. India is eyeing a win in the 2018 World Cup and Gill is the vice-captain of the Under-19 Indian cricket team.
Born in Fazilka, this 18-year old lad was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for Rs 1.8 crore in Bengaluru. With a base price of Rs 20 lakh, Shubman Gill had most of the franchises bidding for him. Gill’s was the first name among members of the India Under-19 team at the auction table. Reminiscent of the sacrifices his father made early in his career, Gill says his father deployed helpers at his farm in Fazilka to throw balls at him and keep him engaged. They would bowl tirelessly for hours, unable to satisfy his thirst for more, Gill told a sports website.
When his father was convinced of his talent, the family moved from agricultural lands in Fazilka in Punjab to Mohali. His father rented a house in the vicinity of the PCA Stadium. He did that not because Gill would get a chance to train there yet, but because he would be able to visualise himself training at the academy and perhaps one day play on the centre pitch.
Known for big runs, he made his first-class debut for Punjab in the Ranji Trophy in late 2017 with a half-century in the game and an attacking 129 in the next match. Mentored by none other than ace Indian batsman Rahul Dravid, Gill constantly played at an age-group level above his. In 2014, he smacked 351 in Punjab’s Inter-District Under-16 tournament, and shared a record opening stand of 587 with Nirmal Singh. On his Under-16 state debut for Punjab, he made an unbeaten double-century in the Vijay Merchant Trophy. The same year, he went on to share the stage with his idol Virat Kohli while receiving a BCCI award for the best junior cricketer, which he won for two successive years: 2013-14 and 2014-15.