Hardik Pandya ready to play ‘Dhoni’s role’, praises Shubman Gill’s match-winning knock – Sportstar

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Published : Feb 02, 2023 19:00 IST , AHMEDABAD
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Former India skipper MS Dhoni along with Hardik Pandya at the Eden Gardens. (File Photo) | Photo Credit: K.R. DEEPAK
Among the records set by Shubman Gill in the third T20I against New Zealand here on Wednesday, one ascertained his all-around class. With his brilliant unbeaten 126, Gill (23 years, 146 days) became the youngest Indian to score a century in all three formats.
The opener became the fifth Indian to score hundreds in all formats, joining Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, K.L. Rahul and Virat Kohli in this elite list. Across nations, only Pakistan’s Ahmed Shehzad achieved this feat at a younger age (22 years, 127 days).
One feature of Gill’s batting is his elegant strokes, even when he goes for the big hits. His technique is his strength, a point relayed to him by India skipper Hardik Pandya.
In the post-match press conference, Pandya explained that Gill should avoid emulating more adventurous stroke players like Suryakumar Yadav and Rahul Tripathi.
“Shubman does not need to try anything. Sometimes he can get into a situation where he is not scoring runs, and that is because he is trying too hard. He needs to pick the right balls and hit it where they are supposed to be hit. Don’t try to be a Suryakumar Yadav or Rahul Tripathi. Be Shubman Gill. That’s the reason he will get success. This is what I’ve shared with him – ‘You are Shubman Gill. I have seen the finest batting done by you. Just back yourself and trust your ability’. Sometimes as cricketers, we try too much and make a mess of it,” Pandya said.
Pandya believes that Gill will become a “great asset to the Indian team”.
“He is technically so sound. It’s very easy for him to switch and play T20s, ODIs and Test cricket. He has the game for all formats. Along with Suryakumar, he can hit good balls and make them bad balls. He is a kid who has a good head on his shoulders. Going forward, he will be a great asset to the Indian team,” Pandya said.
A 2-1 win over New Zealand in the three-match T20I leg is Pandya’s second success as captain after he led India past Sri Lanka with an identical scoreline last month.
Pandya has taken clear roles with bat and ball. The all-rounder opens the bowling, and bats as a sheet anchor in the middle-order. With the bat, Pandya is keen to don the role played by former India captain M.S. Dhoni, who in the later part of his career, shelved the monster sixes for a more clinical approach.
“I have always enjoyed hitting sixes. But that is life, I have to evolve. I believe in partnerships. I want to give my (batting) partner assurance that at least I’m there (at the crease). I have learnt how to accept pressure and make sure that everything is calm. So maybe I have to get my strike-rate down. I don’t mind playing the role which Mahi (Dhoni) used to play. At that time, I was young and hitting balls around the park. But since he has gone, that responsibility has naturally come to me,” Pandya said.
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