Gill believes in living in the present

Gill believes in living in the present

'Winning World Cup is an indescribable feeling'

Gill believes in living in the present

Listening to Shubman Gill talk, it's hard to believe he is just an 18-year-old. Gill, who was named the player of the tournament in India's successful campaign at the U-19 World Cup in New Zealand, is handling fame and attention with calmness and maturity that belies his age.  

The right-handed opener joined his state side Punjab straight from the World Cup for the Vijay Hazare Trophy and his dream extended when he slammed a match-winning 123 against Karnataka here at the Alur 2 ground on Sunday.

Gill amassed 372 runs from  five innings with an average of 124, including a hundred and three half-centuries. The youngster has received praise from all quarters  but Gill believes focusing his energies in the present.  

"I am just concentrating on this tournament (Vijay Hazare Trophy) and I am eager to play well in the next two matches and hopefully we qualify for the quarterfinals," he told reporters here on Saturday.

It wasn't the best of starts for Gill in the Vijay Hazare Trophy with scores of 25, four and eight but his ability to handle pressure in a crunch game against Karnataka was impressive. "I told myself that I won't think too much about my previous three innings. I just kept calm and tried to be confident for this game," he offered.  

Gill admitted that his mantra for success is to be hungry for runs but not approach an innings with blind aggression. His knocks of 102 not out (against Pakistan), 86 (against Bangladesh) and 90 not out (Zimbabwe) were examples of his penchant for big  innings. His century on Wednesday was yet another instance where he displayed immense patience to script a significant innings.  

"I like playing long innings and it's something that I have developed. I don't play fancy shots. I try to see off the first hour where the pacers dominate and then try to get runs against the spinners," he explained.  

The memory of lifting the World Cup is still fresh for Gill. "It's a feeling that cannot be described and I am glad I made my country proud. When we defeated Australia in the first league game, we believed we could lift the title. Before the tournament, we had played other strong teams like England and South Africa but we hadn't faced Australia. That win really was important for us," he recollected.

Lakhwinder Singh, Gill's father, couldn't wait to see his son and rushed to the city last week. "He wasn't at home for more than 45 days and I  was very excited to see him so I  decided to come to Bengaluru," said Lakhwinder.

Talking about his son's love for cricket, Lakhwinder said: "He was three-year-old when he started the game and he grew very passionate about it. Unlike many other kids, he never asked for toys but would always play with bat and ball. We are extremely happy that his preparations for the World Cup paid off and a big party awaits him when he gets back home."

Gill said his father was his first teacher of the sport. "I watched a lot of Sachin (Tendulkar) and Virat Kohli but my father is my first coach and he taught me the basics," he said.

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