Persistence finally paid off for young Shubman Gill as he finally got the nod and was included in India's Test squad which will take on South Africa. He replaced KL Rahul in the squad and as per chief selector MSK Prasad, he was indeed picked as a back-up opener, but can also get an opportunity in the middle order. The Chairman of Selectors menioned the possibility of Rohit Sharma opening the innings.
"Yes, we are definitely looking at him (Rohit) and want to give him an opportunity up the order," Prasad told media persons in the capital. "He is keen (on opening) and the selection committee as well as everyone (team management) is keen. We want to see where he stands and then take a call."
Prasad also said that Gill was very impressive and they have identified him as a player who could play across all the three formats.
Gill as an opener
"With regards to Shubman Gill, we look at him as an opener as well as middle-order batsman. We are looking at him as back-up for both the slots. As he keeps playing more and more, he will get his opportunities, because he is a player for all three formats," the chief selector added.
Communication has been one of the key criteria which this selection panel keeps harping upon and Prasad informed that they did speak with KL Rahul before making the call. Rahul scored just 664 runs in his last 30 Test innings and his only notable score was 149 against England at the Oval last year.
"We definitely communicated to KL. He is an exceptional talent and unfortunately his form has dipped in red-ball cricket," Prasad said.
He also said that with both Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay out of the team, they were looking at continuity and hence, Rahul got more opportunities, which, unfortunately, he could not translate into results.
"With Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay gone, we can't keep changing both the openers in the side. Someone had to stick around. And probably with seniors exiting, KL got more opportunities. Unfortunately, he was not delivering consistently. He delivered in patches and that's why we backed him because when he is on song, he is a treat to watch," he further said.
With Rohit being backed as an opener, it will be interesting to see if Gill finds a spot in the middle order or will the management will give him a go as the opener at anytime during the course of the series.