The Indian team has seen several new faces in the past few years thanks to the emergence of talented youngsters. From Shubman Gill to Arshdeep Singh, several newcomers have made their debut in the blue jersey and made their names.
Among them, some have already cemented their places in various formats, challenging senior cricketers for places. In this case, Shubman Gill should come first thanks to his lackluster form in recent times. His explosive double century in the first ODI against New Zealand earned him a lot of accolades as well as cemented his place in the Indian unit.
In terms of innings, former Indian fielding coach R Sridhar’s autobiography reveals an interesting story of Gill’s earlier days on the international circuit- Coaching Beyond: My Days With the Indian cricket team.
Sridhar spent significant time with Team India. Apart from former coach Ravi Shastri, he was part of the coaching staff under Anil Kumble and Duncan Fletcher. Thus, he closely watched the debuts of current day superstars like KL Rahul and Shubman Gill. Analyzing his past experiences, Sridhar mentions in his book that he found a lack of fielding effort in the modern generation of cricketers as opposed to their predecessors.
Referring to KL Rahul, Sridhar said that when the opener earned his India cap in 2014, he forced him to field at silly point. But, according to him, the mentality among the boys who come now is different. “Some are not willing to work hard,” he noted.
To illustrate this, he brought up the reference of Shubman Gill, who stunned the cricket community with his extraordinary knock of 91 runs in the famous Gabba Test in early 2021.
However, Gill could not sustain the momentum in the subsequent series against England and managed to score just one half-century during the series. Keeping his batting performance aside, Sridhar, in his book, focuses on the youngsters’ efforts in fielding. Recalling the funny incident, the former fielding coach wrote, “Things came to a head with Shubman in Ahmedabad during the last Test against England in March 2021. I thought about talking to Robbie about it but held my horses. Then I took Gill out for lunch,” writes Sridhar in the book.
Sridhar took time to explain the importance of fielding to Gill in his career. He details the conversation in a section of his book that reads, “I told him, ‘You’re considered the next big thing. People see you as a leader. As a future leader, one thing you need to bring is inspiration. You should have a presence on the field and when you do something you must do it with purpose. It is not only for the benefit of the party. Do it for yourself. Do it for your own satisfaction, not because the captain wants you there. What you do there has to be an inspiration to the whole team.”
Looking at his recent game, Shubman Gill has definitely worked on his fielding. While his batting has become an important component for India, his fielding ability also seems to have improved.