'Can't judge him on one innings' - Rathour defends Shubman Gill after initial failure at No.3
Shubman Gill would've been livid with himself to have been one of the only two Indian batters to have missed out against the hapless West Indies in the Dominica Test of the ongoing series.
Amidst great anticipation about his move to No.3, the right-hander was out edging a sharp away turning ball from the straight for six off 11 deliveries against left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican.
Given that he is unique to the league of defence-oriented No.3s India have had since current head coach Rahul Dravid built his greatness and incredible body of work and had the remarkably stoic Cheteshwar Pujara proving to be his able successor, the initial failure caused slight worry with Gill, who is in the freeflowing mould.
How the India and Punjab right-hander might ultimately shape up in the middle order is one of the exciting and important aspects of the transitioning side. And batting coach Vikram Rathour says it's critical then to give him ample time and space to find a strong footing at No.3, with the No.4 spot, currently shut, expected to be the one where he reigns his ultimate kingship in the future.
Rathour opens on Gill's move down to No.3
Speaking to press after the end of the first Test, which India won in comprehensive fashion by an innings & 141 runs, Rathour called for patience on the outside about the youngster's move down to No.3. The new role taken voluntarily by Shubman Gill to align with historic duties in the middle-order for Punjab and India 'A' after starting a promising Test career as an opener for India.
"Three openers were supposed to play (also debutant Yashasvi Jaiswal and skipper Rohit Sharma), so one had to go at No. 3 and the proposal came from Shubman's end as his rationale was that he had played all his cricket for Punjab and India A at either No. 3 or 4 and that's his real slot in longer format is that," Rathour said.
The coach insisted Gill's shift to the middle-order is bound to be a fruitful one and will eventually allow the prodigiously talented 23-year-old to maximise his promise and abilities. Rathour believes Gill has the defensive game and range to play out different situations and attacks at one-down.
"We can't judge him on basis of one innings. He has a lot of time. He has the technique and temperament to play time if required and can also play an attacking game when a move on is needed. He can move the game forward. That is what we need at No. 3 as it can be advantageous," he added.