Vijay Shankar and Shubman Gill, on Sunday, were called in as covers for Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul in India’s squad for Australia and New Zealand respectively. The 19-year-old cricketer was rewarded for his consistent performances in Ranji Trophy, playing for Punjab, and India ‘A’ teams in the last 12 months.
Speaking on his maiden call-up in the national side, Shubman Gill said, “It was a surprise call-up for me. I was just going to sleep and suddenly at around 1 AM, I got messages from reporters saying that I’ve been selected." Vijay Shankar to Replace Hardik Pandya in Australia, Shubman Gill Included for New Zealand Tour.
He further added, “Then I opened one of the WhatsApp messages and then I saw me and Vijay Shankar are replacing KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya. For the first 15-20 seconds, I was in a state of shock,” while speaking to India TV News.
Reports were doing the round that Mayank Agarwal would be selected ahead of Shubman Gill. However, it is reportedly being said Agarwal is nursing an injury and hence Gill was selected. BCCI Suspends Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul Ahead of Ind vs Aus ODI Series, Troubled Duo Likely to Return Home.
With all said and done – from nowhere being on the radar of the selectors to being chosen in the Indian national squad – it will be interesting to see how Gill grabs the opportunity, with ICC World Cup 2019 looming over.
Will he be given chances ahead of the mega tournament is for the Indian think-tank to answer. Nonetheless, his inclusion in the squad on merit basis would be a big morale booster for the teenager, who emerged as a star for the U-19 Indian team in their World Cup triumph last year.