Opinion: Shubman Gill should learn from Prithvi Shaw how not to be weighed down by unrealistic expectations
The selection of the nineteen-year-old Shubman Gill happened in fortuitous circumstances for India’s ODI and T20 series against New Zealand. Had Mayank Agarwal managed to recover fully from the finger injury, he probably would have replaced the suspended KL Rahul in India’s squad.
Though luck had a major role to play in Gill’s selection, there is no doubting the fact that he richly deserves this call-up to the Indian squad. His performance in the domestic season in 2018 has been nothing short of breathtaking.
He was also the player of the tournament in the Under-19 World Cup. With his teammate and captain from that World Cup winning side Prithvi Shaw already making a mark in the longer format, Gill is expected to emulate Shaw’s success in the shorter format.
A section of media in not just India, but in Pakistan too, as was seen in the Rashid Latif show “Caught Behind”, has been busy anointing Gill as the next big thing in Indian cricket. Even before his selection, he was being compared to his idol Virat Kohli for his penchant of scoring consistently and fluently at number three position.
He himself has admitted to being influenced by and idolising the Indian captain. However, even before he has played his first international match, such comparisons can weigh a young player down.
The media cannot be blamed for such lofty comparisons. That is their job. But it is up to the player himself to remain grounded and have realistic expectations from himself.
Gill should look no further than his under-19 Indian captain Prithvi Shaw for inspiration in this matter. The young Mumbaikar had been compared to the great Sachin Tendulkar even before he made a name for himself.
The clamour grew even stronger after he made his debut in the Test format against West Indies. But instead of being weighed down by expectations from others and comparisons with the greatest modern day batsman, he focused solely on his game. The result is there for all to see.
One hopes for the sake of Indian cricket, the young Punjab cricketer is not weighed down by such unrealistic expectations, and emulates Shaw in making a successful transition from domestic to international cricket.