Shubman Gill learned backfoot game with ‘1500 short balls every day’

Shubman Gill

Shubman Gill impressed with his technique against short-pitch bowling, and his father has said he honed those skills during practice, often only using a stump as a bat.

Just 21-years of age, Gill debuted in the second Test against Australia, scored an attractive half-century in the next match before an elegant 91 in Brisbane set up India’s chase in the final Test to secure a 2-1 series win.

In the aftermath of the series, Gill’s father spoke of how he let him face 1500 short balls every day in practice, and sometimes let the ball bounce off a charpoy, a traditional woven bed.

“Since he was nine, I made him play 1500 short balls every day,” Gill’s father Lakhwinder Singh told the Times of India newspaper.

“The ball tends to travel faster after skidding off the charpoy.

“Besides that, he practised with a single stump as his bat. That helped Shubman in finding the middle of the bat more often than not.”

Originally from a village in Punjap, Gill’s family moved some 300km to Mohali in search of better facilities.

Singh also mentioned how he made his son practice on canvas matting wickets, to prepare him better for short-pitched bowling.

“The extra bounce that matting provides forces you to get in … the correct position,” Singh said.

“Batsmen who have played on matting pitches develop the ability to play on the backfoot, which is so essential for any higher level of cricket.”

Gill’s come of age in Australia has seemingly solved India’s opening woes, as Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal struggled against the new ball of late.

Gill and fellow opener Rohit Sharma will next try England for size, with the first of four home Tests starting on February 5.