I used to be petrified of bouncers, says Gill after conquering Australian pacers
New Delhi: The promising Shubman Gill on Sunday revealed he used to be ‘petrified of bouncers’ before eventually overcoming all his fears to get his Test career off to a rollicking start against some of the world’s fastest bowlers.
Gill, 21, announced his arrival on the big stage with a classic knock of 91, which set the tone for India’s incredible victory on the final day of the series-deciding fourth Test against Australia recently.
In the six innings that he batted against the likes of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Micthell Starc, Gill never looked in any sort of discomfort. But it wasn”t so easy many years ago.
“When you get hit by a ball, your fear disappears. You are only scared until you get a blow but once you get hit, you feel like it was pretty normal! And then you lose the fear entirely,” Gill was quoted as saying by his IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders on website www.kkr.in.
“When I was young, I used to be petrified of bouncers. I used to be prepared for the chest-height balls way in advance. I used to practise drives a lot so I got mature in playing the pull shot with a straight bat.
“I also developed one more shot where I move aside a little to play the cut. I used to feel scared of short deliveries so I always wanted to get away from the line of the ball and play the cut shot.
“These two-three shots were my favourite as a kid and now they have become a part of me.”
Going back to his early days in Mohali, Gill spoke about how he was scared of facing a particular fast bowler at the academy and how he overcame his fears.
“I was nine years old when I was asked to play in a higher age group match. There was a bowler in the academy, just like you find in every other academy, who was really fast. I was batting against him and was scared that I would get a bouncer to start with.
“So I had pre-decided that I would just duck it. He bowled a bouncer but pitched way ahead. I still squatted and saw the ball hitting the edge of my bat and racing to the boundary. I realised he was not that fast after all. Soon I hit 2-3 more boundaries.
“I was quite young so everyone was surprised. This helped me raise my confidence level. This incident just eliminated all kinds of fear from my heart for leather balls and bouncers.”
Besides his 146-ball 91 at in the second innings at Gabba, Gill also had another half-century and looked comfortable in almost all his outings.
Gill, who first held a bat when he was only three, would travel 20-25 kilometres a day for practice before his parents decided to leave his village in Punjab and settle down in Mohali to help their son get coaching facilities at an academy.