India U-19 opener Shubman Gill recalls coach Rahul Dravid's “challenge”

"Dravid challenged me to not score any runs with aerial shots, and I got a hundred in the next two matches"

What's the story?

Shubman Gill, the opening batsman of the India Under-19 side, has revealed how he was once politely challenged by his coach and former India captain Rahul Dravid after falling for low scores consecutively. “When England came to India last February, I got out playing two rash shots in my first two ODIs. I tried to lift the ball and got out,” Gill told “He [Dravid] came and told me, ‘you are such a good striker of the ball, why do you want to hit the ball in the air?’”

In case you didn't know...

Gill is a right-handed batsman who hails from Punjab and while still only 14 years old, had hit 351 in just 277 balls in Punjab Inter-District Under 16 tournament, and was a part of a world record opening partnership of 587.

Having played just two and seven first-class and List-A games for his state, respectively, the 18-year-old already averages 61m with a hundred and a half-century each in four-day cricket to go with a century in domestic one-dayers too.

The heart of the matter

After limited contributions in the two youth ODIs against England, Gill's coach Dravid gave him a piece of advice that worked out beautifully, as Gill ended up scoring centuries in the two matches that followed.

“He gave me a challenge in the next two matches to not score any runs with aerial shots, and I got a hundred in the next two matches. He was like, ‘see, you can score so much on the ground, why do you need to hit it in the air?’,” recalls the talented teenager.

What's next?

The 12th edition of the Under-19 World Cup begins on January 13 with New Zealand hosting it for a record third time. India, led by batsman Prithvi Shaw, have been grouped alongside Australia, Zimbabwe and Papua New Guinea. Their first match will be against a strong Australia side on January 14 at Mount Maunganui.

Author's take

A former cricketer with the experience and wisdom of Dravid was always going to be an ideal choice for training young, aspiring international cricketers. And coming from a man who accumulated a mountain of runs by simply relying on shots along the ground rather than aerial ones, it was fitting advice which Gill received from Dravid.

Check out India Squad for World Cup 2023 & South Africa Squad for World Cup 2023. Follow Sportskeeda for latest News.

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Edited by Arvind Sriram
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