Virender Sehwag argued on Saturday that Shubman Gill lacks the natural ability to hit boundaries at will. He added that the youngster is a better player in longer-formats and is currently struggling for similar time freedom in the T20s.
The former India opener also suggested a solution. He advised the KKR management to allow Shubman Gill to play the anchor's role at one end while asking the more fluent hitters to bat around him.
"See, I feel he's a long-format player like the ODIs and Tests. In T20s, one has to hit boundaries at will. Either this, or you play a role where you don't have to hit boundaries but just play safely at one end. That's why I suggest that KKR put him at one end and push Nitish Rana at 4 and open with Sunil Narine or Rahul Tripathi who can cash in on the powerplay for Shubman Gill. Because if Shubman Gill can play out the first six overs he can easily hit boundaries against the likes of (Rahul) Tewatia and Shivam Dube," Virender Sehwag told Cricbuzz.
Expounding on the subject further, Virender Sehwag pointed out that Shubman Gill depends more on timing than force to score brisk runs. He explained that on days when he fails to find these gaps early on, he gets under the pump and perishes.
"At the moment, he's playing with very hard hands where neither he's been able to time the ball nor collect runs. He's the kind of player who depends on timing to find gaps and if that doesn't go his way, he tends to build pressure on himself," Virender Sehwag added.
Virender Sehwag's comments come in the back of Shubman Gill's dissonant 19-ball 11 against Rajasthan Royals on Saturday. This knock capped what has been a woeful start in the tournament for the right-hander. He has just managed to collect 80 runs from 5 games this season at an average of 16.
His strike rate reads 121.21 which is marginally better than his last year's numbers where he collected 440 runs at a much better average of 33.84 but was criticized heavily for his slow batting in the powerplay.
KKR should make some changes if Shubman Gill can't anchor: Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag further remarked that if KKR can't allow a safer role for Shubman Gill at the top of the order, it's high time they look to make some changes.
The former cricketer even said that the franchise should see the rest of the tournament from a loser's vantage point and imbue more flexibility in the lineup by promoting Andre Russell and Sunil Narine.
"His role should be something like last year, where he hogs at one end, and Sunil Narine, Rahul Tripathi and Andre Russell hit boundaries at will from the other end. If not, then there's only one solution: he has played 5-6 matches, KKR should sit him out and try to find a replacement. KKR should now think as they have already lost the tournament and focus on making some new changes. This could be promoting Sunil Narine or Andre Russell in the batting order, which are strategies that have worked for them in the past and might work again," concluded Virender Sehwag.
KKR have Karun Nair and Madhya Pradesh's young gun Venkatesh Iyer in the wings. It will be interesting to see if they replace one of their most promising, long-term players mid-season, or try and back him in a role he is more comfortable in.
KKR lost the game against RR by 6 wickets and will now play against the Punjab Kings on April 26.