Young India opener Shubman Gill, who on Wednesday became the youngest player to ever smash a double century in one-day internationals, stated that his intention was to put the New Zealand bowlers under strain, and it paid off.
In a masterful performance, Gill scored 208 runs off 149 balls, including 19 fours and nine sixes, to help India to an impressive score of 349 for 8.
“I was waiting impatiently to go out and do what I want to do,” Gill said while accepting the player-of-the-match award following India’s tense 12-run victory over New Zealand in the series-opening match in Hyderabad. The match was a part of a three-match series between India and New Zealand.
Gill did an excellent job of stepping up his innings, and it took him 52 balls to get his first 50. He went from 50 to 100 in just 35 throws, and then from 100 to 150 in the same amount of time.
But it was his final flurry that saw the acceleration truly take off, with Gill racing from 150 to 200 in only 23 balls, passing the double-century mark due to three straight sixes that he hit in quick succession.
“As wickets were being taken, there were occasions when I wanted to unleash, and I’m delighted I was able to do so in the end. When the bowler is in control of the game, it is necessary to make them feel as though they are under pressure, as Gill explained his strategy.
“I needed to stay away from dot balls, show some intent, and hit as hard as I could into the gaps, all of which I was doing.
I wasn’t really thinking about scoring 200 runs, but when I started hitting sixes in the 47th over, I got the feeling that I could do it. Before that, I was just playing whatever came naturally to me.
The previous record holder for the youngest player to score a double-hundred in men’s ODIs was Gill’s teammate Ishan Kishan, who set the record with his 210 against Bangladesh last month at the age of 24 years and 145 days. Gill surpassed Ishan Kishan to become the youngest player to score a double-hundred in men’s ODIs at the age of 23 years and 132 days.
“He (Kishan) is one of the best friends that I have… “When you are wanting to do something and it is coming off on a regular basis, it is a great feeling,” said Gill. “It feels nice.”
It took Gill 19 innings to reach 1000 runs in one-day internationals, making him tied for second fastest in that category with Imam-ul-Haq.
The record for the fewest number of innings required to reach the milestone is held by Fakhar Zaman, who did so in just 18.
Prior to this, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan (24 innings) were the quickest Indians to reach 1000 runs in one-day internationals.
It (the double tonne) has settled in really nicely. When the ball comes off the bat in the direction you want it to go, it’s a great feeling, but I wouldn’t call it a “wow” moment.
“One can hardly deny the existence of a sense of fulfilment. “This is without a doubt one of those experiences, comparable to the stuff that dreams are composed of,” remarked Gill.
Gill received gushing compliments from the captain of the Indian cricket team, Rohit Sharma.
“It’s a joy to watch Gill bat because he makes clean contact and avoids hitting the ball in the air.” Before the series against Sri Lanka, we wanted to see how he would perform under game conditions by giving him some playing time. “He has such a natural flow to his batting,” Rohit remarked.
Rohit was also quite complimentary of India’s fast bowler Mohammed Siraj, who had the best numbers of any Indian bowler and finished with 4 for 46.
“Recently, even in the other two formats, Siraj has been performing exceptionally well. He has been working really hard and is quite clear about what he wants to accomplish. He has gone from strength to strength. The fact that he is not scared to use the short ball at all is quite exciting,” the captain went on to say.