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IND vs SA: Can Shubman Gill erase his technical weakness and prove himself in testing South African conditions?

It’s not Gill who says he’s the next big player, but once that title and hype builds, questions automatically arise – as an expectation from the best player of the generation, rather than harsh criticism.

A good batsman can go down like this, but an aspirant to the throne must be better than just good. Not that Sunil Gavaskar, a man who knew his stump, never fell behind, but it was not an obvious weakness that worked to the bowler’s advantage every time. It’s not as if Sachin Tendulkar hasn’t dropped pound-for-pound to heavyweight, but it’s not a weakness that has been exploited consistently. It’s not as if Brian Lara wasn’t bothered by the guards.

“Is he starting to shift his weight forward better?”

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It was a query from Kane Williamson’s long-time batting coach David Johnston, in Shubman Gill’s first international year. I saw him as an under-19 kid here in New Zealand, and he was an excellent batsman; There was one area of ​​concern when the ball was a good length and came back in.

“His whole style is such that he prefers to stand upright at the crease or drop back, and is late going forward. He should be fine in bouncing conditions in Australia or South Africa, but might have some problems in England, New Zealand and other places where that kind of action doesn’t exist.” “The bounce. But that’s just a little thing, he’s too talented to solve it. But yeah, just keep an eye on it.”

Surprisingly, Gill has yet to solve the problem and it has often been the cause of his downfall in international cricket. As Williamson’s coach expected, he has impressed in Australia in 2021, but this flaw has been his downfall elsewhere.

It is not a weakness in the traditional sense of the word. If he corrects this in the traditional way moving forward, it could affect his entire successful style which he understandably hates to change. It is a natural technique that has evolved from his childhood days playing on the cement tracks in his village courtyard. She asked him to stand tall and punch upward or press back and clench a fist. This is also a reason why his short arm hitting motions look so natural when the ball bounces from distance.

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To change that with a small forward trigger is to misshape his natural formation. So he tried to make up for it in other ways. Mainly, with an exaggerated front shoulder lean stance in his last few tests. It’s as if he’s reminding himself that he can’t afford to regain his weight too much, and must be ready to push forward when height demands it. It works, but then the ball comes, after a series of setups by the player, when he finds himself a bit behind in moving forward. And that’s all really good bowlers need.

Scott Boland cleans Shubman Gill Scott Boland celebrates India’s wicket by Shubman Gill during the 2023 World Test Championship final at The Oval. (Reuters)

Awareness leads to solution

In many ways, hitting is about transferring weight and consistency when playing the shot. Unlike Williamson, who is looking to move forward with a small press, but this move then is just the beginning of Williamson’s negotiations, not the end.

“From that forward press, depending on the length, Ken will either fall back or move forward more,” Johnston says. “It doesn’t allow the bowler to dictate the lengths through the crease.” Jill does.

It’s not that he’s not aware of the problem. “There are one or two elements that are important. Just as your shoulder should be straight towards the ball, you should be a little sideways while playing, and you should be in good position even if your feet don’t move well. You should be in a good position even if your feet don’t move well,” Gill once told The Indian Express. “If you’re in good position on the ball, you’ll be able to do it.”

To his credit, he has great hands and trusts them to get him out of jail, but when the ball moves a little beyond that full length, it’s asking too much of them.

Gill is a self-aware batsman who has meticulously put together his technique. “As a player, you have to know what things you need to work on, and where the opposition is looking to take you out. If you know that, it becomes easier to deal with,” Gill said. He told this newspaper: “I don’t make any major changes to my style without speaking to My father… In cricket, there is no style that can be described as ‘resistant to superiority’.

Shubman Gill To his credit, Gilles has great hands and trusts them to get him out of jail but when the ball moves a little from that full length, it’s asking a lot of them.. (PTI)

He clearly saw weight transfer as a problem because he tried to compensate for it by reducing his initial backfoot movement. Also, for a brief period in the recent past, he stood with a noticeable stoop in his front shoulder. So he messed around.

One of his mentors, Abhishek Nayar, former Mumbai batsman and Kolkata Knight Riders coach, told this newspaper about Gill’s mental makeup as a batsman.

“A lot of cricketers spend a lot of time trying to understand their game. But Gill is someone who has such a deep understanding at a young age. He’s someone who relies a lot on his game. He has a great deal of understanding about his game and the intricacies of his skill set.”

“On concrete, the back foot becomes natural, and it’s an instinctive shot. The front foot becomes something you have to develop,” Nayar said. “He’s not someone you’ll see tending to drive because that’s not something that comes naturally, but he’s someone who has scored a lot of goals off the ball.” Red on the front foot. I think he’s an all-rounder.”

Now, in South Africa, despite not having Anrich Nortje who bowls such good pace, he will face Kagiso Rabada, Luji Ngidi, a tall left-handed seamer in Marko Janssen as well as right-armer Gerald Coetzee. . In theory, Williamson’s coach said, Gill should thrive in South African conditions as he did in Australia, but if the players do their bit to match the conditions, it could get tough.

If the overcast conditions force the South African players to hit a full length in search of action, rather than bowl it a short distance as they might do on their home tracks, it could get interesting for Gill. The best young Indian batsman of this generation must, on paper, show that he is the best young Indian batsman of this generation – on the field.

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A self-motivated and hard-working individual, I am currently engaged in the field of digital marketing to pursue my passion of writing and strategising. I have been awarded an MSc in Marketing and Strategy with Distinction by the University of Warwick with a special focus in Mobile Marketing. On the other hand, I have earned my undergraduate degrees in Liberal Education and Business Administration from FLAME University with a specialisation in Marketing and Psychology.

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