Can Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw seal a Test spot?

Test spot beckons: Prithvi Shaw (L) and Shubhman Gill.

They are often called the future of Indian cricket, but for Shubman Gill and Prithvi Shaw, the biggest test of their skill and mindset yet would come in the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

With skipper, Virat Kohli set to leave the Indian side after the opening Test and Rohit Sharma not available before the penultimate Test, Gill and Shaw are touted as natural starters in the Indian batting line-up against the mighty Australians.

Test spot beckons: Prithvi Shaw (L) and Shubhman Gill.

Not only the duo will get ample opportunities to prove their worth, but also to cement their mantle as the future of Indian cricket.

Shubman Gill in specific has been quite impressive in the warm-up matches. Though only two ODIs old, expectations from the Mohali boy are sky-high. And he knows it.

KKR is not the only side to see his leadership potential. In 2019, national selectors made him captain of the India Blue side for the Duleep Trophy. Before that, he was vice-captain of the under 19 team that won the 2018 World Cup.

By that comparison, Prithvi Shaw made a grandstand entry into the foray of International cricket. As an 18-year-old starry-eyed boy, Shaw became the second youngest Indian to make a century in the elite format, and the seventh-youngest of all time, when he romped to a debut ton in his maiden innings, against West Indies in October 2018.

Such has been his prodigal rise to the top that for many, it did not come as too much of a surprise that he found his feet in Test arena so quickly. Ever since his school-days, the young batsman’s talents have been flagged up as suitable for International cricket.

Both Shubman Gill and Prithvi Shaw were part of the India side that triumphed in the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand in February 2018. The duo have since not looked back, making a name for themselves in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with some good performances.

However, it is well and truly the time for them to expand their spectrum and make it count in Test cricket.

Shubman Gill, Shaw for Test team

As often is the case, it’s sometimes hard to tell the wood from the trees when it comes to talented Indian kids. When the vast majority are hyped to the heavens, it’s tricky to know who is deserving of acclaim.

Shubman Gill averages an impressive 73 in 21 first-class games, with a tally of 2133 runs, including seven centuries and ten fifties. He recently became the youngest Indian cricketer to hit a first-class double century when he stroked an unbeaten 204 from 250 balls for India ‘A’ in the West Indies.

Gill’s first tryst with international cricket didn’t go off well. He played two One-Day Internationals in New Zealand earlier this year but aggregated just 16 runs in two games. However, that was a minor blip but there is a lot more to come.

Since 2018 Gill has made 970 runs in eight unofficial Tests, including two double centuries. And on bouncy Australian wickets, Gill will find it relatively easier to stroke the ball than his countrymen.

Gill is expected to fill Kohli’s boots and bat at four for the remainder of the series. While some may say he should’ve already made his Test debut, a Boxing Day debut sounds fitting for the youngster from Punjab. After a decent show in the warm-up games, Gill is now in thick of things and banging on the door for the Test call-up.

Toss up between Shubman Gill, Shaw

Despite possessing undisputed talent, opener Prithvi Shaw has been criticised for often losing his wicket early in the innings with flashy shots. The 21-year old Mumbai batsman has had an underwhelming season and has hogged the limelight for the wrong reasons.

While the white-ball side has laid a decent foundation for the upcoming Tests, India’s potential red-ball opening pairs have struggled to replicate that in three innings so far. After bagging a duck in the first outing, Prithvi Shaw has squandered two rapid starts.

If numbers aren’t worrying enough, there is a weakness in Shaw’s batting that’s his kryptonite in Australian conditions – the short-ball. Shaw was so rattled by it during the IPL that the Delhi Capitals dropped him briefly.

Every once in a while, a rare talent emerges in cricket and India is lucky to have two gems in Shubman Gill and Prithvi Shaw. It is about time for the two of them to stand up and show their worth!

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