Shubman Gill’s got the cushion that perhaps even Pujara didn’t get, says Anil Kumble

Anil Kumble said Shubman Gill has been provided with a cushion which probably even Cheteshwar Pujara didn’t receive when he was in the national set-up.

Hyderabad, Jan 29 (IANS) On Shubman Gill’s recent struggles in Test cricket, former India captain Anil Kumble said the right-handed batter has been provided with a cushion which probably even veteran batter Cheteshwar Pujara didn’t receive when he was in the national set-up.

After a great start to his Test career, Gill has found the going tough after moving to number three position. At Hyderabad, Gill struggled to break free before falling for 23, flicking straight to mid-wicket off debutant Tom Hartley in first innings. In the chase of 231, the tentative right-handed batter spooned a simple catch to short mid-off against Hartley and fell for a two-ball duck.

As of now, Gill has aggregated 173 runs at an average of 17.30 in his last 11 Test innings, with just one 30+ score to show. It stands in stark contrast of him amassing 1000+ runs in ODIs and becoming IPL 2023 top run-scorer last year.

“He has been given the cushion perhaps even a Cheteshwar Pujara didn’t get, because although he (Pujara) has played over a 100 Tests, I keep coming back to him mainly because that was his place not too long ago. Pujara played in that World Test Championship final and post that, it’s been Shubman Gill, who’s been moving from the opener’s slot, and he himself wanted to bat at No. 3.”

“So, when you want to bat at No. 3 especially in India because you have that talent, you certainly need to work on your game. He has the skills, he is young and he’s learning, but he needs to do it in Vizag, otherwise the pressure will be on him,” said Kumble on ‘Match Centre Live’ show on JioCinema and Sports18 at the end of first Test, which India lost by 28 runs to England.

Kumble, who was the India head coach when it defeated England 4-0 in the 2016 home series, believes head coach Rahul Dravid is the best person to help Gill come out of his troubles in Tests.

“He needs to be a lot freer. He needs to score runs. He needs to come up with his own plan of action to tackle spin, because he has hard hands. It’s good for good surfaces where the ball is coming on nicely and the faster bowlers are bowling at you. But when the ball is turning, when it’s slow, you need to use your hands and control and check your shots.”

“That’s something he needs to work on. It can’t be one flow all the time. Yes, four days before the next Test, can you work on your skill? I think it’s all the mindset. You can certainly work on your mindset, and you have the best possible person as the coach (Rahul Dravid) to manage that for Shubman Gill.”

With left-arm spin all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja now emerging as a doubtful starter for second Test starting on February 2 in Visakhapatnam, left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav may be included in the playing eleven. Asked about this possibility, Kumble said, “I am not really sure whether you need a fourth spinner. But if India feel that they need only one fast bowler then having Kuldeep will certainly help.”

“He will have variations but England will come and do the same things they did in Hyderabad. The wicket could be a turning one and we are expecting the pace to be quicker than this.”

Kumble, who has picked 619 Test wickets, also wants for the Indian batters to improve upon their poor showing from the Hyderabad Test. “This was slow but it was a good wicket if you applied yourself. India certainly need to buckle up with their approach to playing against spin because I felt the approach of a couple of batters wasn’t positive and even the footwork wasn’t what you expected.”

“I also felt that they were certainly rattled by the way England approached their batting and with that, they have to come up with plans, some unconventional ones. They never tried any variations so that’s something I am sure they will be looking to do.”


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