'I rotate strike well against spin' - Gill open to middle-order role in ODIs
In order to get more opportunities, he is willing to move down the order in Tests as well
India batter Shubman Gill is open to batting in the middle order in limited-overs format and emphasised the importance of reducing dot balls in T20 cricket by relying more on rotating strike against spin. While Gill has been a regular in India's Test setup, he is yet to make his T20I debut and is on the fringes of the ODI squad. In the absence of the first-choice top-order players in Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli, Gill opened the batting with Shikhar Dhawan in seven of the nine 50-over matches he played this year against West Indies, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
"I believe that the fewer dot balls you play in T20s, the better your strike rate will be", Gill told ESPNcricinfo ahead of Punjab's preliminary quarter-final match against Haryana in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. "Almost all batsmen have the same boundary percentage, but the ones with fewer dot balls have a higher strike rate. In T20s, you need to know what the bowler is trying to do. Those who bowl in a set way, you can dominate them.
"My game all-round is very good and I rotate the strike well against spinners. So even if I get a chance in the middle order, I am ready for that. If they [the team management] are looking at me in the middle order, then I am ready for it. When I scored that hundred in Zimbabwe, I was batting at one down, I didn't open. So one down or two down, whatever the team needs, I am ready."
Gill also reflected on his maiden county stint with Glamorgan, where he scored 244 runs, including a century and a half-century, in three matches. He said that a good start cannot be taken for granted in England, unlike in India.
"In England, you have to concentrate all the time," he said. "In those conditions, sometimes you feel you are set, but one spell can throw you off. It's not like that in India. Here once you reach 40-50, there is a pattern to bat. There is no such pattern in England. You could be batting at 110 and are still not set. No matter what score you are on, you have to be careful [on] every ball."
Gill has only played one of his 21 Test innings as a non-opener. In order to get more opportunities in the Indian Test side, he is willing to move down the order, too. While he is confident of his technique in red-ball cricket, Gill is aware of his concentration wavering when he is in flow.
"The red-ball format is very important to me," he said. "You get a different type of confidence when you do well in red-ball cricket. I am ready to bat wherever there's a vacant spot in the side.
"I don't think there is anything wrong with my technique. When your concentration is disturbed, or you relax a little bit, and then if a good ball comes, you miss it. I think it always happens with me that I am batting well and then I get out.
"There is no phase where I get out after I am constantly beaten. I think it [dismissal] is because of lapse in concentration. When a batsman is struggling, he is more alert. With me, sometimes it's the other way round. I fail to keep my concentration going when I'm batting well."