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South Africa vs India: Shubman Gill needs to be consistent to live up to expectations, says: Kris Srikkanth

World Cup-winning former India opener Kris Srikkanth said Shubman Gill has to start performing consistently overseas to ensure he lives up to expectations and contributes to the team. The former opener said he has seen Gill being hyped up as the next big thing in Indian cricket and added that he would wait and watch how the young openers perform in the coming days.

Shubman Gill completed 2023 as the highest run-getter in international cricket with over 2000 runs. Despite suffering dengue at the start of the ODI World Cup, Gill scored over 354 runs, including 4 fifties in the World Cup. While his ODI numbers were sensational, the young opener struggled to be consistent in T20Is and Tests. Gill scored a T20I hundred in Ahmedabad, but he managed just one more fifty-plus score across 13 innings in 2023.

Gill has been struggling to get going in Tests in the last 3 years, averaging less than 30. After opting to bat at No. 3 since the tour of the West Indies in July last year, Gill has managed 83 runs in 5 innings. His only hundred in Tests last year came against Australia in Ahmedabad. The opener struggled to get going in the West Indies and it continued in the Boxing Day Test in South Africa in December. Gill managed just 28 runs across two innings, failing to make use of the opportunities that he had. India witnessed a collective batting failure as they lost the series opener by an innings and 32 runs as their hopes of conquering the final frontier – winning a Test series in South Africa – went up in smoke..

Gill will get the backing of the team management to get used to the No. 3 role, which was dominated by the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara and Rahul Dravid in the past.

Shubman Gill has to perform well across the world. Scoring runs in the sub-continent alone doesn’t help. He has to score runs overseas. Why are we calling Virat Kohli the King? Look at his record, even in the last year, be it Test matches, ODI or T20Is. Just look at his records. I have nothing more to say. Yes, I accept you can’t produce a Virat Kohli every time. Everybody can’t producing Virat Kohli (Kohli-like numbers). But you have to try and get to at least a bit of that stature,” Srikkanth said in a YouTube show.

“I think the hype around Shubman Gill, quite a few are saying ‘he is the next this, next that’. I think we will have to wait and see. I wouldn’t overrate him, I wouldn’t want to underestimate him.

KL Rahul is someone who has been underperforming. With the class that he has, he can become at least 60 to 70 percent of what Virat Kohli has become. That’s my rating. Rishabh Pant is another clas player. He is on another level. Unfortunately, we don’t have him for selection now,” Srikkanth added.

India will be hoping Shubman Gill finds form at No. 3 as they have crucial Test assignments in a busy year. Inida will look to avoid a series sweep in South Africa when the two teams meet in the New Year’s Test in Cape Town from January 3 to 7.

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