Shedding 'defensive and over cautious' mindset key to Shubman Gill's blistering form
Shubman Gill attributed his phase of sheer dominance down to an adjustment in his mindset, wherein the prodigiously talented young Indian opener said he recognised being "defensive" and "overly cautious" during the earlier phase of his career had held his wings back.
Gill was speaking after his high-class second Test hundred in the first-innings of the Ahmedabad Test against Australia for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The young gun came up with a classy knock of 128 off 235 balls, which arrived in a phase where he has been climbing up the ladder and taking his game two notches higher.
The 23-year-old had a tremendous January as he blasted his way to three ODI hundreds, including a maiden double century against New Zealand that arrived not long after he blasted his first-ever T20I hundred versus Sri Lanka. A month prior to his white-ball spree, the right-hander went to Bangladesh and struck his maiden Test century.
In what is still a very young career, Shubman Gill said, he reckons his best comes out when his first instinct and plan is to attack the bowling without putting shackles on his mentality. The batter said he doesn't mind getting out playing an aggressive shot as long as his mindset is to score runs and not approach the ball in play with a defensive headspace.
Shubman Gill on his batting philosophy
"There was phase in the middle when I was scoring 40s and 50s (52 and 44 against New Zealand in 2021) and getting out and when I played the one-off fifth Test in England, I scored some 20 odd (17) and I got out early in that innings," Shubman Gill said after the close of play on Day 3 of the Ahmedabad Test.
"I got a feeling that as soon as I was getting set, I was getting over defensive and over cautious. I was thinking now that I have got set, I will have to bat as long as possible. I was putting myself under too much pressure and that is not my game."
"Once I get set, then I get into a sort of rhythm and that’s my game. So I had to tell myself that if I get dismissed while playing my natural game, then it is fine. But problem was I was getting out playing the type of game that doesn’t come naturally to me," the cricketer with a bright future ahead of him explained.
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Gill also said that the times he has struggled at the crease have been those when he has put himself under needless pressure rather than keeping his entire focus on playing the delivery as it comes at him. He said it's this aspect of his play, alongside the mindset shift, that he has looked to address over the past year.
"If I get out trying to play a shot after getting set, I can accept that dismissal, because that’s a shot and my execution wasn’t proper. But if I get out playing a game which isn’t my style then it became unacceptable to me," he said.
"So I had to tell myself that I shouldn’t put too much pressure on myself when a situation like this arises next time, that I must convert now that I am set. I needed to keep it a bit free-flowing. It was more about mental make up and I focussed on that primarily."