BY NIHARIKA RAINA
New Delhi– Openers Shubman Gill and Yashasvi Jaiswal have been in fabulous form in IPL 2023, which has led to former India cricketer Robin Uthappa earmarking the youngsters as next big things in Indian cricket.
Gill and Jaiswal are separated by only a run while staying firm in the leading run-scorers list, with Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Faf du Plessis leading the chart. Both Gill and Jaiswal have a century and four fifties against their name, with the latter being better than the former in boundaries hit and strike-rate.
“I definitely see potential in him (Gill) being as big as someone like Virat Kohli or Sachin Tendulkar. I certainly think he’s got the stuff; he’s a phenomenal player who is in exceptional form and is playing some great cricket at the moment. I certainly feel and believe personally that Shubman Gill and Yashasvi Jaiswal are the two next big things of Indian cricket,” said Uthappa, an IPL expert for JioCinema, in a select virtual media interaction.
With the 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup still more than a year away, both Gill and Jaiswal are making strong cases to be India’s opening pair, especially with their rise coinciding with Rohit Sharma’s dip in form. In IPL 2023, Rohit has scored 257 runs in 13 innings at an average of 19.77 and strike-rate of 131.12, with only one fifty against his name.
While stating that Rohit doesn’t need to take a break, Uthappa, who has won IPL trophies with Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders, wants the right-handed batter to get back to his previously successful approach instead of going hard from the word go.
“I don’t think there’s much wrong with his form to be honest as when he’s batting at the crease and playing, he’s playing like the Rohit Sharma we all love. The approach or template, that he calls it himself and chose it, is not necessarily working for him. Although it is the template which he’s chosen as captain of the Indian team, the uber-aggressive way of playing, I don’t think it works for Rohit Sharma the batter.”
“He’s been more successful with the tried-and-tested formula – starts sedately and capitalises or makes up for the initial time at the back-end. If he comes back to that form of batting, we will see him performing like we know how Rohit Sharma performs.”
“To be honest, he doesn’t need a break and it’s just a mindset shift in last few games – start sedately, not going after bowling in first over itself and then gone after the bowling post playing first few overs. You can see in that he’s batting like the Rohit we all know,” he added.
Asked if he sees any major changes in the make-up of the Indian team post IPL 2023, Uthappa remarked any shift in the set-up can happen post this year’s ODI World Cup, to be hosted by India in October-November.
“From my experience of Indian cricket, they will continue to go with experienced players because making wholesale changes this close to an ICC tournament (ODI World Cup) will not be wise. Form is always temporary and having said that, post the World Cup, we may see a lot of wholesale changes moving forward. But before that, we won’t see a lot of changes.”
“Yes, there are a lot of injury concerns and would like for them to be addressed and people to be fit. We are missing (Jasprit) Bumrah and hope he will be fit for the World Cup. With KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant out, these are areas of concern. Form is one thing, and one should make sure we put out a fit team which can give us the best chance to win a World Cup, especially with one that’s happening at home,” he concluded. (IANS)