The Indian cricket team put on yet another clinical performance in the third ODI against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui on Monday to take a unassailable 3-0 lead in the five match series. It was Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s last involvement in the tour, after being rested for the last couple of ODIs and the three match T20I series. Rohit Sharma is all set to lead the team in his absence.
With the series done and dusted by all means, the visitors are expected to make quite a few changes in their playing XI for the last 2 games in order to allow more game time for the players on the bench. The number 3 position where Kohli generally bats is expected to be up for the grabs for the last couple of ODIs and the 3 T20Is to follow.
Former Indian cricketer and legendary batsman Sunil Gavaskar has advocated for the inclusion of the 19 year old Shubman Gill as replacement for Virat Kohli for the final 2 ODIs against New Zealand. The 19 year old, who starred for the Indian U-19 team’s victorious campaign in the ICC Under 19 World Cup in New Zealand last year, earned his maiden national call-up on the back of a stunning display in the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy.
Gill played 5 games for Punjab in the group stages of the tournament in which he scored 729 runs at an average of over 104. Gavaskar made it quite clear that with Virat Kohli rested, it would be the perfect time to test out someone like Shubman Gill.
“Well because the No.3 spot is vacant, I would want to give Shubman Gill a game, give him a couple of games and see how he fares. If he gets to bat, you will get a fair idea how he is taking to international cricket,” Gavaskar told India Today.
Gill, who epitomizes the new breed of Indian cricketers, earned praise from Virat Kohli in the post match presentation ceremony at the end of the 3rd ODI. The Indian skipper even hinted that Gill could make his debut in the upcoming 4th ODI.
“I think there are some outstanding talents. We saw Prithvi Shaw grab the opportunity with both hands. Shubman is a very exciting talent and I saw him bat in the nets and I was like wow I was not even 10 per cent of that when I was 19,” Kohli said.
“So, that’s the confidence that they carry and it’s great for Indian cricket, the standard keeps going up and the guys coming in can make those impact performances straightaway. And, we are more than happy to give them chances and provide them the space to grow,” Kohli added.