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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Can Gill Do What Kohli Couldn't?

Can Gill Do What Kohli Couldn't?

By LAXMI NEGI
November 28, 2023 06:26 IST
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Shubman Gill

IMAGE: Shubman Gill was a surprising choice as Gujarat Titans captain. Photograph: BCCI
 

As the dust settles on the World Cup 2023 disappointment, the spotlight now shifts to the T20 arena. With anticipation building for IPL 2024, there's a palpable sense of a new era with young leaders at the forefront.

In the heart of this cricketing transition, the Mumbai Indians grapple with a critical question -- will the seasoned Rohit Sharma retain the captain's armband, or is it time for Hardik Pandya to take the reins?

The unexpected twist of Pandya's trade to the Mumbai Indians not only reshapes the the 5 times IPL champions' destiny. but also casts a captaincy shadow over the Gujarat Titans.

Unexpectedly, the resolution to this void comes in the form of the meteoric rise of the prodigious Shubman Gill.

Shubman Gill

Gill steps into the limelight as the fifth-youngest Indian captain in IPL's 16-year history. His proven track record, including the 'Emerging Player of the Tournament' in the IPL 2019 season, and consistent dominance of run charts for the Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2020 and IPL 2021, set the stage for his ascension.

The crescendo of his performance reached its peak with the acquisition of the 'Orange Cap' in the 2023 season, amassing a staggering 890 runs -- the second-highest in a single IPL season.

Drawing parallels with cricketing luminaries, Gill now stands as a beacon of the new guard, akin to Virat Kohli, who assumed captaincy at a young age.

Both from cricketing hotspots -- Gill from Punjab, Kohli from Delhi -- their comparison buzzes among fans and experts. Gill, dubbed 'the prince', signals his ascent in Indian cricket, while 'King Kohli' embodies Virat's enduring dominance.

Shubman Gill

As Gill captains the Gujarat Titans, these comparisons zoom in. It's more than playing style or leadership traits -- it's a succession tale, marking a shift in Indian cricket's guard.

Simply put, Gill, the rising star, now carries the mantle once held by King Kohli.

However, the decision to anoint Gill as skipper sparks fervent debates, especially with the seasoned presence of players like Kane Williamson and Rashid Khan in the Titans' ranks.

Harsha Bhogle suggests that Gill may have benefited from a year under Williamson's mentorship, foreseeing him as captain in IPL 2025.

'I think life is moving a little too fast for Shubman Gill,' Bhogle tweeted. 'He has had a great year as a batter and he needs to take that next step forward in the next few months with a Test series in South Africa and a T20 World Cup where he has competition for his place.

'It might have benefitted him to be understudy to Kane Williamson for a year at GT with a view to being captain at IPL 2025.'

Speculation swirls regarding Gill's captaincy role, with some conjecturing a strategic alignment to leverage his popularity for endorsements, given his secure spot in the Indian line-up.

Shubman Gill

Acknowledging the challenges, some argue that Gill's exposure to the leadership styles of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Hardik Pandya positions him well for the captaincy role.

Also, under the watchful eye of Titans Head Coach Ashish Nehra, known for his mentoring prowess demonstrated during his stint with Pandya, GT are poised to provide Gill with a robust support system.

As Gill takes centre stage in the captaincy arena, all eyes are trained on how this young luminary will shape the destiny of the Titans in IPL 2024 -- a chapter resonating profoundly in his cricketing journey.

The franchise's unwavering belief in Gill as a long-term leader adds an extra layer of excitement and speculation to this unfolding saga within the cricketing fraternity.

Comparisons with young IPL captains like Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant highlight Gill's entry into a league of exceptional leaders at a relatively tender age.

It's not just a captaincy appointment; it's the dawning of a new era for the Gujarat Titans, and the cricketing world watches with bated breath.

Youngest captains in the history of IPL

Virat Kohli: 22 years, 4 months, 6 days (Royal Challengers Bangalore)

Steve Smith: 22 years, 11 months & 9 days (Pune Warriors)

Shreyas Iyer: 23 years & 141 Days (Delhi Capitals)

Suresh Raina: 23 years & 112 days (Chennai Super Kings)

Rishabh Pant: 23 years & 144 days (Delhi Capitals)

Shubman Gill: 24 years, 2 months, 19 days (Gujarat Titans)

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LAXMI NEGI / Rediff.com

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