Ahead of the mega clash between India and Pakistan in the ongoing Asia Cup 2023, India’s young batting sensation Shubman Gill opened up on the struggle he recently faced in the first time he played against the likes of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah and more. Gill said on Saturday that not playing against a quality Pakistani bowling attack has proved to be a reason why Men in Blue are struggling to take on them at times. India will take on Pakistan in their Super Four Asia Cup clash at Colombo on Sunday.
Talking about India’s struggles with Pakistan’s left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi, Gill said in a pre-match press conference, “When you are playing at this level, you play left-armer pacers previously at some point of your career. We do not play Pakistan that much as compared to the other sides. They have a quality bowling attack. When you do not face such a bowling attack frequently and are not used to it, it makes a difference.” (Asia Cup 2023: Hardik Pandya’s Brutal Take On Being An All-Rounder, Says, ‘My Workload Is Twice As Anyone Else’)
Talking about how contrasting him and his opening partner skipper Rohit Sharma are, Gill said that this contrast makes it difficult for bowlers to contain them.
“I am someone who likes to play along the ground in the powerplay. Rohit takes on bowlers aerially. This combination works well for us. How different we are as players makes it difficult for bowlers to contain us,” said Gill.
Talking about his brief slump after the Indian Premier League (IPL), Gill said that sometimes it is just the quality of bowling that outpowers a batter.
“Yes you go back to the good times (during a slump). Sometimes it is not even about technique. It is just about the bowlers, they are also there to take wickets. You can get some good deliveries. When you play well, there are things that go in your favour. You just have to trust your game and keep going to get those big runs,” he said.
Questioned if the players see and follow Pakistan skipper Babar Azam’s batting, Gill agreed and termed him a “World-Class player”.
“Yes, definitely we follow him. When a player is doing well. Everyone watches him to find out why they are doing so good, what their speciality. The same thing goes for Babar. He is a world-class player and we all do admire him,” said Gill.
Talking about the differences in bowling of Pakistan pacers Shaheen and Naseem Shah, Gill said that the former offers more swing, but the latter has more pace and bowls in good areas.
Gill said that the team is clear about their roles, batting positions heading into the ICC Cricket World Cup, which will start from October 5 onwards.
Talking about the team’s plans with their batting, Gill said, “Our plans will be the same, to give a solid foundation and then dominate. In that last game against Pakistan, our top order did not do well. But still, we made around 260 and looked set to make 310-320 runs at some point at such a wicket. These are good signs.”
India vs Pakistan Asia Cup Squads
Pakistan: Babar Azam (c), Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Salman Ali Agha, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Haris, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Saud Shakeel, Tayyab Tahir (travelling reserve).
India: Rohit Sharma (c), Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya (vc), Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumraj, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna, Sanju Samson (travelling reserve).