Aakash Chopra has acknowledged that he wasn't sure of Shubman Gill's credentials as a shortest-format player before his century in the third T20I between India and New Zealand in Ahmedabad on Wednesday, February 1.
Gill smoked an unbeaten 126 off 63 deliveries as the Men in Blue set a mammoth 235-run target for the Kiwis. Hardik Pandya and Co. then bowled out the visitors for a paltry 66 to win the series decider by a massive margin of 168 runs.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Chopra admitted that he considered Gill to be more suited to the longer formats of the game, elaborating:
"The first question in your mind might be whether Shubman Gill has become a T20 cricketer now. I will keep my hands on my heart and say the truth - I felt he plays Tests very well, ODI is his favorite format but I wasn't 100 percent certain about T20s.
"I admit it, I say in front of everyone, there is nothing wrong. He has made such a big score now, it is fantastic. I eat my words, they are very, very bitter. It is the truth that it is the highest T20I score by an Indian."
The former Indian opener highlighted how Gill almost single-handedly outplayed the Kiwis, saying:
"If we talk about the gap between his individual score and the opposition team's score, that's also the second highest. The Afghanistan guys were in front of Virat Kohli in the Asia Cup and now it is about here."
Gill's unbeaten 126 was studded with 12 fours and seven sixes. The stylish opener strung together an 80-run second-wicket partnership with Rahul Tripathi after Ishan Kishan's early departure. He then dominated a 103-run fourth-wicket partnership with Hardik, with the Indian skipper contributing only 30 runs.
"I am not 100% certain" - Aakash Chopra on whether there will be no further discussions about Shubman Gill as a T20 player
However, Chopra is unsure whether Gill has settled the debate about him being a T20 player, stating:
"So has Shubman Gill become a T20 cricketer? I would say he has started to walk in that direction. The day he plays, he plays like this, he has shown that by doing it. But is the debate sealed now - I am not 100% certain whether there will be no further discussions about this."
The reputed commentator feels the Gujarat Titans (GT) opener could face difficulties in the shortest format due to his conventional batting style, explaining:
"This can become a topic of discussion sometime or the other because his playing style is so proper, and proper players get stuck in T20s at times. So that can happen. I am just sitting on the fence a little bit, but for now, you did an amazing job and created a ruckus."
Many cricket experts wanted Prithvi Shaw to play ahead of Gill in the T20I series against New Zealand. However, the Indian team management stuck with the Punjab opener despite his twin failures in the first two games, and the youngster repaid them for the trust shown in him.
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