IND vs ENG: Shubman Gill reflects on the struggle of batting at number three in Tests

Gill scored a match-winning ton in Visakhapatnam and 91 in Rajkot, accumulating a total of 252 runs at an average of 42 in the first three Tests against England

 Shubman Gill

Shubman Gill had been grappling with a barren run, enduring nine innings without significant scores ahead of the ongoing five-match series against England. After moving down to number three, all of a sudden, his numbers dropped in red-ball cricket, with many former cricketers claiming that Cheteshwar Pujara should make his return to the playing XI, given the absence of several seasoned players.

However, in the three Tests played so far in the five-match series against England, one could make the case that Gill has found his rhythm. He scored a match-winning century (104 runs) in Visakhapatnam and a classy 91 in Rajkot, aggregating a total of 252 runs at an average of 42. Notably, rather than making sweeping technical changes, Gill focused on managing the expectations he had set for himself. He admitted that living up to these self-imposed standards was demanding.

“You will definitely have some expectations on you as to how you want to play for the team, the country. But I don’t think that has changed my mindset. I still have the same set of expectations for myself. It is all about how you are able to forget them and move on quickly and be ready for the next challenge. That is the difference between a big player and an average player,” he added.

The 24-year-old has failed to score a single half-century since the West Indies tour which dates back to July 2023, where he decided to bat at number three. However, he returned back to form in Visakhapatnam, scoring some vital runs for the Rohit Sharma-led side in the last two matches. Meanwhile, Gill acknowledged that batting at No. 3 presented a unique challenge. Although he had experience in that position via domestic matches, the international arena demanded refinements.

“I have batted at No. 3 and No. 4 for India A and in some Ranji Trophy matches, and as such, it was not something that I have never done in my life. There are not many technical changes that I had to make to my game. But it is different when you open the innings because you don’t get that much time to think as you are going right in after the toss. You are the one who is setting the tone,” Gill said.

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