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Shubman Gill’s father annoyed with Team India’s ‘wrong decision’ to demote son to No. 3: ‘His game isn’t like Pujara’

Despite the century against England, Shubman Gill’s father expressed annoyance over the batter’s call to give up on the role of an opener and play at No. 3.

Leading up to the series against England, Shubman Gill had gone without a fifty in 12 innings. Pressure was mounting on the youngster, with critics reminding him that a certain Cheteshwar Pujara continues to await another opportunity in the Indian team on the back of a ravishing run in the ongoing Ranji Trophy tournament. However, Gill silenced the talk around his form with his first ever Test century batting at No. 3, and he followed it up with another triple-figure score on Friday in the fifth Test match in Dharamsala against England. Despite the two knocks, Gill’s father expressed annoyance over the batter’s decision to give up on the role of an opener and play at No. 3 for India in Test cricket.

India’s Shubman Gill plays a shot during the second day of the fifth Test cricket match between India and England at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala on March 8, 2024(AFP)

Gill’s father, Lakhwinder, was present at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium on Friday to witness the star India batter notch up his fourth career century, and second in 2024. As Gill carried his customary celebration, his father was seen applauding from the stands. However, being a coach himself, Lakhwinder wasn’t satisfied with the century.

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“If you’re satisfied then it’s over for you. Most of all, you should want your team to win, and contribute towards that. He scored that 200 against New Zealand in ODIs, even that did not feel enough since they took the match too close. It is not enough if your team is not winning,” he told Sportstar.

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Gill began his Test career as an opener, but shifted to No. 3 before the start of the tour of West Indies last July. In nine innings he played thereafter, the right-hander managed only 142 runs at just 17.75 with not a single half-century. The run of form quickly sparked questions on whether it was the right call was made by the player. However, with the management backing him to the hilt, Gill bounced back to score two centuries in the last 30 days. But Lakhwinder reckoned that his son was better off as an opener, calling the No. 3 role as a “wrong decision”.

I think that was a wrong decision. You sit outside and only take pressure on yourself. Step out onto the field, play 10 balls and the pressure is gone.

“I try not to interfere too much with that. I just involve myself with his training, that’s it. At one down, you’re neither an opener nor a middle-order batter, and you are just stuck in the middle,”

“Then his game is also not like that. Like (Cheteshwar) Pujara was suited for the spot who had a defensive game. With the new ball, you get loose deliveries to pounce on. It is said the new ball is tough for the batters, but it is equally difficult for bowlers too. When you go in after 5-10 overs, the bowlers have adjusted as to which length to bowl…”


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