Shubman Gill stands on the brink of becoming India’s next cricketing superstar

Shubman Gill can reach new heights with an impressive debut 50-over World Cup

Sonia Twigg
Thursday 02 November 2023 10:00 GMT
Shubman Gill can reach new heights if he impresses in the Cricket World Cup for India
Shubman Gill can reach new heights if he impresses in the Cricket World Cup for India (AFP via Getty Images)

The stage is set, the Indian nation expects, and the pressure is on India to deliver one of the most coveted trophies in the world of sport, the ICC Cricket World Cup. For 24-year-old Shubman Gill, there is no bigger platform on which to lay down his marker as the future of Indian cricket after recovering from dengue, having missed the first two matches against Australia and Afghanistan.

Unlike England where cricket is secondary to football in terms of interest and profile, in India cricket is paramount. The top cricketers can have social media followers in the hundreds of millions – for example, Virat Kohli has 260m followers on Instagram – and their faces adorn billboards while featuring in TV adverts is also a part of the status.

Gill has already impressed in the format and goes into the tournament as the leading run scorer in ODI cricket this calendar year, but it is the performances in the international events that live longest in the memory.

For English people and Australians, it is the Ashes. Regardless of career stats, taking a key wicket, run-out or scoring crucial runs can lift a player to a higher level in the national consciousness than any impressive average. For most other nations it is performances in the top ICC events that have the same effect.

Gill burst onto the scene in the 2018 under-19 World Cup, where he was named player of the tournament, and was almost immediately drafted into the Indian Premier League.

A player from a modest upbringing as his family owned a farm, but since then Gill has already followed in the path of many Indian cricketers before him and can be seen on TV screens in adverts, and a big performance in the upcoming tournament could lift his profile to the status of the likes of Rohit Sharma.

Yuvraj Singh who famously hit Stuart Broad for six sixes in an over, and won the World Cup with India in 2011, described the 24-year-old as a ‘game-changer’, and he has a chance to set the platform for his side at the top of the order.

Gill is the ideal player to become that newest superstar, and he is not far off already. He has played 35 ODI’s, scoring 1917 runs, at an average of 66.10, with six centuries and nine 50s. A year before the tournament he became the youngest man to score a double century in ODI cricket at 23 years and 132 days.

In front of a home crowd, with India’s matches expected to be full sell-outs and the expectation of a nation on the team’s shoulders, Gill will want to reach new heights and finish the calendar year having secured a third 50-over World Cup trophy for India.

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