Shubman Gill was clearly under pressure after the England tour.
In the all-important 5th Test, Gill got out cheaply in both innings, scoring 17 and 4.
In fact, many netizens put the responsibility of India’s defeat on Gill and Kohli.
Naturally, Gill’s place was under scrutiny in the ODI series against West Indies.
How Gill fared
Gill underlined his quality in the best way possible – by making his bat talk.
In the 3rd ODI, his sublime 98 helped India beat West Indies by 119 runs and complete a 3-0 rout.
In a rain-affected final ODI, India scored 225 for 3 in 36 overs, thanks to Gill’s career-best knock.
Skipper Shikhar Dhawan (58 off 74 balls) offered him able support.
Dhawan and Gill added 113 for the opening stand, their second hundred plus partnership in the series.
In fact, Dhawan notched up his second half-century (58 off 74 balls) following his 97 in the opening game.
India were 115 for 1 in 24 overs when the first rain stoppage occurred.
However, once the play resumed, the Indians smashed 110 runs in the next 12 overs as Gill looked good for his maiden century.
Interestingly, we saw two different dimensions of Gill’s batting batted during the course of the innings.
Before the rain-break, he was more of an accumulator and showed the defensive solidity required of an opener.
Later, he transformed into an ultra-aggressive avatar as he destroyed the Caribbean attack with stroke play.
Later when it started raining again, the disappointment was writ large on Gill’s face as he was unable to complete his century.
Though he fell 2 runs short of his ton, nevertheless Gill will be happy to have scored 205 runs in three games. (64, 43 and 98 not out)
Gill was deservingly named Player of the Series for his outstanding consistency.
In the series opener on July 22, Gill had announced his intentions with a fluent half-century off just 36 balls.
In the process, he became the second youngest Indian to score a half-century in ODIs in West Indies.
Gill was 24 years and 3 days when he achieved this feat.
The youngest was Virat Kohli at the age of 22 years and 317 days.
This was an important knock as Gill was playing in his first ever ODI after December 2020, against Australia.
Gill and Dhawan combo
India’s success in the ODI series can be largely attributed to the Gill and Dhawan combination.
In all the three ODIs, they put India in strong positions and covered up for the deficiencies of the middle order, where Suryakumar Yadav was a weak link.
While there is a raging debate on the future of ODIs, Gill would be indebted to this series, which has reinstated his status in the 50-over format.
The best news for Indian cricket is that Gill’s confidence is back.
And when Gill is confident, his batting is a sheer joy to watch. When Gill’s mind is clear from the cobwebs of worry, his batting blossoms and we get to see a player who is capable of hitting any stroke in the book, even against the best bowlers.
For instance, every cricket fan will cherish seeing Gill hit those two effortless sixes off leg-spinner Hayden Walsh and the purest of off-drives off pacer Jayden Seals.
We hope Gill can capitalize on this series and become an integral part of Team India in all formats.