'Your mindset can't be same every innings' - Shubman Gill shrugs off strike rate debate

Opening batter expresses pleasure at "added responsibility" of being chosen by Gujarat Titans

Shubman Gill punches one through the covers, Kolkata Knight Riders vs Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2021, Sharjah, October 7, 2021

Shubman Gill was not retained by Kolkata Knight Riders ahead of this season  •  BCCI

As an opener over the last two seasons of the IPL, Shubman Gill has struck at only 118.45. This, despite the fact that he comes out to bat in the powerplay, where only two fielders man the boundary. Whether Gill goes at too slow a pace and ends up putting pressure on the batter at the other end has often been a topic of debate, but the man himself says every situation requires a different "mindset".
"It differs from situation to situation, and when you go in to bat, there are different targets. Your mindset can't be the same in every innings," Gill, who will be representing Gujarat Titans this season, said. "The wicket might be different. So you have to plan accordingly. As a player, that is the challenge, and you know that if you play with the same mindset and game plan, then it becomes very easy for the opposition to plan tactically.
"And it is all about experience when it comes to adapting to different situations. That is what helps you grow. This year, I'll be working with Gary Kirsten, who is our mentor [and batting coach], and hopefully, I get to learn some new tricks to put up my sleeve."
Despite playing 52 of the 70 innings in his T20 career as opener, Gill says he will be happy to contribute in any way his team needs. The last time he batted at any spot other than the top was against Sunrisers Hyderabad back in 2019, a season when he kept floating around the batting order - from No. 1 to No. 7 - for Kolkata Knight Riders.
"I am looking forward to whatever the team demands from me," he said. "I am sure the captain and the coaching staff have a particular thing in mind… hopefully, we all can work together and help the team."
Having so far played only Tests and ODIs for India, Gill, who is only 22, has aspirations of making the national squad for the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.
"If any player does very well in the IPL, then obviously there are chances that he is considered [for India]. And a World Cup is a very big tournament for everyone, and everyone wants to play it," he said. "And if I do well in this IPL and get that opportunity, then I'll be very thankful."
Titans, being new to the IPL, were allowed to pick three players from the auction pool before the mega event even took place. They chose Gill, Hardik Pandya and Rashid Khan and the young opener is eager to repay the faith that has been placed in him by the franchise.
"Unfortunately, I didn't get retained by KKR… but it felt great when I when I got to know that Gujarat Titans were interested in retaining me," he said. "If any team retains and trusts you so much, then you gain a lot of confidence.
"This is also a very good and a big opportunity for me at Gujarat. Ashu bhai [Ashish Nehra, head coach] and Hardik bhai showed a lot of trust by retaining me. This brings an added responsibility, and I like taking responsibilities."
Apart from fulfilling his role, Gill also wants to ensure that Titans build a good head of steam and then keep it going through the long season, where each team plays 14 matches before entering the playoffs.
"IPL is a tournament where you can't take any team lightly because T20 is the shortest format, where chances of making a comeback are a lot higher, no matter whichever team you play," he said.
"Most importantly, being such a long tournament means it is very important to carry forward the momentum you have gained after winning your first few matches. The matches are held one after the other, and so likewise, you could even lose two or three matches [in a row]. And the team that is able to break their run of losses turns out to be having the best chance."