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Virat Kohli the pro, Shubman Gill the prodigy

ANALYST
Feature
783   //    Timeless

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Gill is likely to replace Kohli, who has taken a break keeping in view of the hectic schedule and the marquee tournament that is set to take place this year. Shubman Gill, if given the opportunity, will have the chance to throw his name in the pool for the World Cup squad, with India still struggling to find the right balance in the middle order.

The stylish middle-order batsman has been scoring runs consistently in the domestic circuit and it is only right that selectors pick him over the Rainas and the Rahanes. For now, Shubman Gill is the perfect replacement of Virat Kohli in the long run, as he has been seen taka ing leaf out of the formers' book.

However, there would seem to be little in common between the worldly experienced pro, just named the best player of the year and the bubbly young man who is the finest nineteen-year-old cricketer in the country today.

One is a batsman with an extraordinary composure, standing like a wall against the best bowlers in the world; defying them, even hurting them. The other is a batsman, just out of his adolescence, just becoming aware of what reputation is. One is aggressive, fancy, tattooed, speaks to managers. To the other, life beyond the movement of a cricket bat is neither exciting enough, nor indeed apparent. One comes from Delhi and other from Punjab.

And yet Virat Kohli and Shubman Gill have much in common; nature's extraordinary ability to grant similar attributes to those plucked from different forests. They are both deeply ambitious and hungry. They don't strut and are very respectful of age and achievement, but more than anything else they seek to learn and to improve each passing day.

We remember watching, young Gill first with amusement and then with satisfaction in the U19 World Cup. He became only the second player to score four consecutive fifty-plus scores in U-19 World Cup history after Mehidy Hasan Miraz. This young man wasn't afraid of the challenges put forward to him and because of that, he had the greatest chance of succeeding.

While Virat Kohli, has been redefining limited over's cricket and is scoring centuries after centuries, if you thought it was no longer possible. When asked about Gill, he heaped praise on him and said, 'I saw him bat in the nets and I was like wow I was not even ten percent of that when I was 19'.

Now these two men, processers of dignity and hunger, have new challenges ahead of them. Travel and fatigue are appearing on Virat Kohli's body and in the next few years, Gill will have to move up to playing Kohli in the side. He has played that role already, only it hasn't been called that.

Amidst all the talent around him, he will have to be the one looked up to; his presence at the crease a sign of calm, his departure the signal for butterflies to flutter. It needn't be that way but that is how we follow cricket, we like to deposit our hopes on individuals.

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Virat has done that since he can remember and it is this ability to play with the burden of other's expectation that makes him one of the game's immortals. For young Gill, an award and more money than he could have imagined a month ago can produce pride and pain depending on whether they are embraced or kept at arm's length. 

Both will continue to knock at his door once he put in the hard yards and be on top of his game all the time and score consistently on the big stage.

One of Virat Kohli's greatest strength has been the ability to keep his feet on the ground. Shubman Gill has it as well. As you can see, they have much in common.

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