Shubman Gill talks bowl-first strategy and India’s batting approach

The India juggernaut rolls on at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, with Rohit Sharma’s side picking up a fourth win to keep them well on track for a semi-final spot in their home tournament.

While it was Virat Kohli who took the headlines with his unbeaten century, it was the opening pair of captain Rohit and Shubman Gill who made the match safe with an excellent opening partnership in Pune.
Kohli’s 48th ODI ton lifts India to solid win | Match Highlights | CWC23
Match highlights as Virat Kohli slammed an unbeaten 103 from 97 balls in Pune to set up India’s emphatic win over Bangladesh at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023

Sharma blitzed 48 at the top of the order to set the tone, following on from his 86 against Pakistan and 131 versus Afghanistan.

And Gill got runs on the board in his second appearance of the World Cup, stroking an excellent half-century to put his team well on course for victory even before Kohli’s hundred heroics.

India’s perfect start to the tournament has seen them win four from four, bowling first in all four matches.

And Gill says it has been a massive boost to the team to have produced such a run of successful chases, particularly given India failed when batting second against Australia in a bilateral series and Bangladesh in the Asia Cup during the run-up to the World Cup.

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Digital Daily with India batter Dinesh Karthik and ICC Digital Insider Tanvi Shah looks at the hosts’ commanding victory over Bangladesh at the ICC Men’s Cricket

“Definitely, I think this is one of the things which was talked about, especially leading up to the World Cup, that we were not chasing that well, those big totals,” Gill said.

“I think having won all the four matches while chasing, I think it’s a great way to have that momentum with us in those big games that we’ll have moving forward.

“I think when we bat first, we know which template to go with and we have made big scores regularly. When we chase big scores, especially in big tournaments, it is important to chase. Once you gain confidence with the batsmen, it helps a lot in big matches.

“The coach and the captain have a bigger role to play. We have to chase the opponent. We’ll see how the wicket is and how the conditions will be for batting.”

Shubman Gill finds touch with fine fifty for India | CWC23
India opener Shubman Gill kickstarted the chase with a half-century against Bangladesh at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023

There was some talk pre-tournament that pitch conditions and the toss could play a big role at some venues during the World Cup, with a number of factors, including dew, meaning that batting could potentially be easier in the second innings of matches.

But there hasn’t been a significant such pattern across all the matches so far in the tournament, and Gill says that the conditions didn’t change much across the evening in Pune.

“I don’t think the pitch changed much, honestly, it was a good batting wicket.”

Instead, India’s chase was made to look simple thanks to a fast-paced start, led by the captain Rohit’s 40-ball 48.

Each of the last three matches have seen Rohit do something similar, getting his team off to a flier and bringing the required run rate down straight away during the opening powerplay.

And Gill says that his opening partner’s approach sums up the team’s tactics.

India openers make fast start in pursuit of Bangladesh total | CWC23
India openers make fast start in pursuit of Bangladesh total | CWC23

“The approach while chasing, Rohit has been batting exceptionally well and he’s been all guns blazing, especially while chasing. And I think that’s giving us the right momentum.

“Then it’s easier for the batsmen who are coming in when the run rate is around four or five in chasing.”

Gill’s role at the top of the order has been made easier by the phenomenal form of the players around him, with Rohit and Kohli currently first and second in the top run-scorers at the tournament.

And the youngster says it is extremely helpful to learn from such experienced big-game players out in the middle.

“To see them how they go about their business in World Cup and in big games is what I always try to learn from them.

“I think there’s a fine line between sometimes being too aggressive or going in the shell, especially playing big games.

“But I think the way they play, the way their mindset is playing those big games in the World Cup is what I try to learn from them.”

Perfect finish! Kohli brings up ton and India victory with huge six | CWC23
Winning moment as Virat Kohli reached a century and clinched the win for India over Bangladesh at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023

Gill’s ODI career has been a remarkable success so far, with the classy right-hander closing in on 2000 runs in the format after just 37 matches, scoring at an average of 64.06.

But he was forced to miss India’s opening two matches of the tournament due to illness, and is relieved he’s been able to come back and get runs on the board.

“When I was a little sick, I was feeling a bit disappointed on missing out on those opportunities, but definitely felt nice to get some game time.

“I think you have to be mentally willing to go out there and that’s what I was thinking when I was there. I lost a few kilos in the process but hopefully I’ll be able to gain that back.”