India has convincingly outplayed New Zealand in the first three ODIs of the five-match series and this might well give an opportunity to test out the bench strength in the final two matches starting Thursday, January 31.
The Indian team is just seven ODI matches away from their first match in the World Cup and the management has a healthy headache in selecting 15 members from a pool of 19 players who are performing whenever given the opportunity. One player who can throw his name in the hat to be on the flight to England, if given the opportunity, is young Shubman Gill.
Here are 5 reasons why Gill should play against New Zealand in the fourth ODI:
Ambati Rayudu yet to convince
While 9 or 10 members of the playing XI more or less select themselves, a couple of places are still up for grabs. One such spot is the number 4 position where despite being a favourite, Ambati Rayudu is yet to inspire confidence in foreign conditions.
This has opened up an interesting debate and a growing number of people want Gill to be tried at that spot. But with only a handful of games remaining for the World Cup and the likes of Rishabh Pant ahead of the 19-year-old in the queue, it remains to be seen if he will he get a fair opportunity to prove himself.
Gill is in terrific form
Gill has been in terrific form in the Ranji Trophy for Punjab where he has consistently notched up high scores in difficult conditions. Gill's innings of 268 against Tamil Nadu on a green wicket convinced everyone that he would soon be playing for his nation.
He then backed it up with one of the greatest 4th innings knocks in domestic cricket when he scored a 148 and almost helped Punjab pull off a coup chasing 338 on the final day against Kerala. Gill seems to make strokeplay look very easy and the fact that he has a very watchable batting style makes believers out of onlookers very quickly.
Gill has shown maturity beyond his age
On top of all this, Gill already has a mature head on his shoulders. Last year, at just 18 and barely two days after becoming a crorepati in the IPL auctions, Gill walked out in a World Cup semi-final against Pakistan. In that knock, he scored a very memorable match-winning century showing a lot of maturity in guiding the innings as wickets kept falling around him. Furthermore, he did not let his strike drop below 100 and did so without taking any risk.
Captain Kohli approves
The qualities of maturity, strike rotation and game awareness shown by Gill are Kohli-esque in nature. The batsman has also shown with his short arm jab and cover drives, that he has a lot of similarities with the Indian captain. He even drew praise from the Indian captain who conceded he was not 10 per cent the player Gill is at the tender age of 19.
"Shubman is a very exciting talent and I saw him bat in the nets and I was like wow I was not even ten per cent of that when I was 19," Kohli said after the third ODI.
Team management, experts want Gill
Well, if the team management is to be believed, the KKR player will get a look-in on Wednesday. Speaking ahead of the game, fielding coach R Sridhar made it clear that India will test their bench strength in the last two ODIs.
Even former captains Sourav Ganguly and Sunil Gavaskar have called for Gill to be named in the playing XI.
"I think they should play Shubman Gill. He certainly deserves a chance in the team. He should play the rest of the series. Who knows, India might get another good player for the World Cup," the Prince of Kolkata opined in an exclusive chat with India TV.