Legendary cricketers Sunil Gavaskar and Allan Border weighed in on the Shaw vs Gill debate and have both chosen the lanky batsman from Punjab as their preferred opener for the first Test in Adelaide. While Border was left awestruck by Gill’s strokeplay, Gavaskar noted Shaw needed more patience.
With Joe Burns out of form and with David Warner and Will Pucovski injured, the Australians are currently in a mix, unsure who their openers will be come Thursday, but so are India. In a perfect world, the visitors would have opened with incumbents Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal, but the dreaded form of the prodigal Mumbai youngster has brought another youngster, Shubman Gill, into the equation.
Gill and Shaw, incidentally, had bat-offs in both warm-up games against Australia A, and it was won by the 21-year-old from Punjab by some distance. But while Gill’s 43 and 65 at the SCG, one would believe, would have sealed his place in the side, there is still a good chance that the Indian management might lean towards the incumbent.
In the wake of the ongoing Shaw vs Gill debate, legendary cricketers Sunil Gavaskar and Allan Border weighed in with their opinions, and, unsurprisingly, cast their votes for Gill. Former Australian skipper Border, who was incidentally a commentator in the SCG warm-up game, claimed that his ‘pick’ Gill had something about him that had ‘class’ written all over it.
"I have been in Sydney the last couple of days watching your boys run around against Australia A. Gee, I was impressed with Gill. I really think he has got something about him. His technique. I know he is young, he can plays some rash shots, but gee he looks a seriously good player, this kid. He would be my pick out of the guys I saw,” Border was quoted as saying by TOI.
"It seems to me he (Shaw) plays the shorter ball against the new ball. It looks good on flatter tracks but in Australia you've got to be a bit more watchful about your shot selection. He seems to be loose outside the off-stump for me. If I am an Indian selector, I am going to look very closely at young Gill.”
Gavaskar, meanwhile, also batted for the inclusion of Gill, and noted how Shaw had technical frailties aplenty which he needed to fix. The legendary opener also questioned the temperament of Shaw, who thrice perished looking for ambitious boundaries. The 21-year-old posted scores of 0, 19, 40 and 3 in his outings against Australia A, and was guilty of being ‘loose’ on all four occasions.
"I think he (Shaw) has got to spend a little more time assessing his batting. Because as an opening batsman, you've got to give yourself time to see what the pitch is doing and see what the bowler is doing and trying to bat the way he is batting at the moment is not going to make him (a consistent player). Yes, he is going to make runs once in a while but for him to do that consistently he needs to tighten up his defence. I agree with AB that he is playing far too many shots at the start of the innings," Gavaskar said.
"I think Shubman will open in the first Test. I think he has shown good form. AB (Allan Border) was there, he was very impressed with what he saw of Shubman Gill. So I would imagine that he should open the batting with Mayank Agarwal."