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Shubman Gill might be 20 but Indias limited-overs deputy Rohit Sharma has already tagged him the "future". In fact, even skipper Virat Kohli felt he wasnt 10 per cent of what Gill is when he saw him at the nets as a 19-year-old. These are big names in world cricket and when they have such compliments to give, it can add to the pressure of expectations. But not for Gill.
Speaking to IANS, Gill threw light on Rohit's affection, Kohli's advice, looking forward to playing the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League and how this unforeseen break due to the coronavirus pandemic means players will have to work on the mental aspect of the game when they return to the training ground.
Replying to Gill on his birthday message, Rohit recently wrote "Thanks Future." So does that add to the pressure? Considering that pundits already feel that Gill has it in him to take world cricket by storm. The Punjab batsman says for him, he just feels good to be complimented.
"Yes, it always feels good when someone like Rohit Sharma says that. I don't feel any added pressure because that's how I am. I don't feel any pressure when one compliments me or if someone is critical," he said.
Gill is young and likes to express himself on the field and luckily for him, he has a captain in Kohli who wants his boys to go out and be their natural selves. The youngster believes it is indeed an advantage to have a leader who let's players express themselves freely.
"Yes, it's definitely an advantage when your captain wants you to go all in and there is no pressure. You won't feel that there is one per cent of your game that would be left when you are on the field so it's always good for the young players when the captain backs you," he smiled.
Asked if he has taken the opportunity to discuss batting with the run-machine, Gill said: "I have interacted with him a couple of times. He just tells me to keep doing stuff that I am already doing and to have consistency on the field. Consistency is an important factor."
From on the field to off it, the cricketing world has come to a standstill due to the pandemic. So is Gill looking forward to getting back on the ground in the IPL? The Kolkata Knight Riders batsman says he cannot wait.
"Yes, that's one more reason I am looking forward to playing the IPL (lockdown and suspension of cricketing action). But I think this time all the players would be more motivated than ever because it was a long break and coming back from the break everyone would want to make an impression.
"Also, earlier when we used to come to the IPL, there was a lot of cricket going on before that. But this time, players would be fresh and keen to get on with it," he pointed.
So how difficult has the lockdown period been as an athlete who is used to spending maximum time on the pitch? Gill says it has been unusual, but he has used the time period to work on his fitness.
"This lockdown period has definitely been a bit unusual for any athlete. But the way I see it personally is, it is a very good opportunity for me to work on my body and to work on myself because when we are playing and we are in this season, we really don't get that much time to work on our body so for me it was a very good time to work on myself," he said.
But has the cricketing rhythm suffered? "Yes, it kind of broke the whole rhythm but it's going to be the same for everyone. Once cricket returns, we have to put twice as much time to get back to the whole rhythm. To get back the touch, it's going to take some time," he explained.
Asked to elaborate a bit on the aspects that will need focus once he returns to the training ground, the right-handed batter said it will be a mental adaptability game for sure.
"We have to put in some quality time on the field, especially during the practice sessions and net sessions. Once that happens for me it's always more of a mental thing than a physical thing because I think the body reacts to the brain and reacts to the way we are thinking," he signed off.