World Cup 2023: Shubman Gill fighting fit for final
Mumbai: r a month ago, Shubman Gill was in danger of being left out of action. He was down with the dreaded Dengue and hospitalised in the lead up to cricket’s showpiece event. Now, he is having a dream run in his debut World Cup.
Gill has provided India perfect starts in the tournament alongside captain Rohit Sharma, partnerships that have been instrumental in the side keeping a clean slate in their run up to Sunday’s final.
The dengue effect showed up during the semifinal against New Zealand on Wednesday as the 24-year-old cramped up, had to retire hurt while batting fluently on 79 only to come back again and add just one to this individual score. "It started with cramps and then I pulled my hamstring a little bit. It was quite humid and I think these are just the after effects of dengue. I have lost a bit of muscle mass, I think the reserve that I used to have before has decreased," Gill said after the game.
However there is good news. When asked if he’d be okay for the final, Gill replied instantly: "Yeah, definitely."
The opener felt he would have scored a century had it not been for cramps. "But I think, we got to the total we were trying to reach, irrespective of whether I scored 100 or not," he said of India’s mammoth 397 for 4.
With Kane Williamson and Daryl Mitchell putting on a huge (181) stand for the third wicket and bringing New Zealand right back into the game many fans at the packed Wankhede missed a heartbeat, but Gill thought India had the match covered. "Honestly, I think we knew it was going to be challenging, especially under lights. We just had to keep bowling in the right areas and wait for them to make a mistake. And that’s what we did," he said.
Sunday’s final will be the second World Cup final for Gill. He was vice-captain of the India Under 19 team that won the world trophy in 2018. "To be able to play with all those players sitting in the dressing room is a great feeling given the way we have dominated this World Cup," he said.
Gill said he relished batting alongside Virat Kohli as their games complement each other. "I think our game is a little similar in style, because both of us like to keep running singles, twos and hitting the boundary in between," he said.
With Rohit, it’s a different ball game. "I stand as a learner in the powerplay. He plays 10 overs; I play 15-20 balls. I rest and Rohit comes and does his thing. He scores 4s, 6s… I just watch," he smiled.
Gill also had high praise for pacer Mohammed Shami, who took 7 for 57 in the semifinal. "In the nets too he is difficult to play if the wicket is good. Definitely very challenging," he said.