During a challenging 11-month period marked by Shubman Gill’s inconsistent form, questions emerged about whether he should retain his spot, especially with the imminent return of players like Virat Kohli and KL Rahul. Even former India head coach Ravi Shastri raised doubts, issuing a “Cheteshwar Pujara” warning after Gill’s dismissal for 34 in the second Test against England in Visakhapatnam. Despite these uncertainties, Gill responded strongly with a century in the second innings, marking his first at No. 3 for India and third overall in Tests. Former India cricketer Yuvraj Singh, pleased with Gill’s performance, provided a robust response to the critics.
Gill had endured 12 innings without reaching a half-century in the traditional format, and it could have been a 13th if not for some luck that saved him twice from lbw scares delivered by Tom Hartley and James Anderson on Sunday.
Following Gill’s dismissal on Friday for a promising 34, Shastri reminded the youngster about Pujara’s consistent performances in Ranji Trophy cricket, alluding to the competition for spots in the side.
“It’s a fresh side, a young side. These youngsters have to prove themselves. Don’t forget, Pujara is waiting. He is grinding it out at the Ranji Trophy and is always in the radar,” Shastri had commented during the match.
Pujara, absent from the Indian team since the WTC final in 2023, showcased his form with a double ton against Jharkhand and subsequent scores of 49, 43, 43, 66, and 91 in Ranji Trophy innings.
Gill, undeterred by the early pressure, capitalized after Anderson was removed from the attack, attacking the English spinners. He secured his maiden fifty in 13 innings, ultimately converting it into a century.
Ecstatic about Gill’s long-awaited performance, Yuvraj Singh took to social media to defend Gill against critics and commend him for a well-rounded century.
“Rising to the occasion once again and playing a well-balanced knock! Good to see the three-digit mark. Well played my boy – let the bat do the talking,” praised Yuvraj.
Gill’s innings of 104 played a pivotal role in India setting a commanding target of 399 runs against England in the second Test.