Shubman Gill, the talented Indian top-order batter, finds himself under scrutiny after a string of underwhelming performances in Test matches. Despite his impressive performances in white-ball cricket, Gill has struggled to translate his success into the red-ball format. Indian keeper-batter Dinesh Karthik believes that Gill will have to produce substantial runs in the upcoming second Test against South Africa to secure his place in the team.
Gill's Struggles in the South Africa Tour
Gill's struggles in the ongoing South Africa tour have been evident. In the recently concluded Boxing Day Test in Centurion, he managed scores of only 2 and 26. Even in the T20I series against the Proteas, Gill could only muster eight runs from two innings. These performances have raised concerns about his ability to perform consistently in Test cricket.
Karthik, in an interview with Cricbuzz, expressed his disappointment in Gill's inability to live up to the expectations set for him.
"Shubman Gill is the big question mark here. He has not lived up to the expectations that people have. I think even he would be aware that if you are going to average mid-30s or early-30s after having played 20 Tests, then you would consider yourself to be a bit lucky to be around. His place will definitely be under the scanner if he doesn't have a great Test match in the next one," DK said
The Need for Gill to Score Big
Gill's lack of substantial contributions in Test matches has raised concerns about his position in the team. Scoring in the mid-30s or early-30s after playing 20 Tests is not considered satisfactory, and Gill must deliver a significant performance in the upcoming Test to silence the critics. If he fails to do so, his place in the team will undoubtedly come under scrutiny.
Potential Replacements in the Middle Order
In light of Gill's struggles, there have been discussions about potential replacements in the middle order. Karthik highlighted the absence of names other than Sarfaraz Khan and Rajat Patidar, who have proven themselves in domestic cricket. He expressed confidence in Sarfaraz Khan's future inclusion in the squad and mentioned Rajat Patidar as a strong candidate for consideration.
"The only middle-order name that we are missing out on is Sarfaraz Khan. I have no doubt that he will make it to the squad much sooner than he thinks right now. Other than that, you do not have any other names doing the round in the middle order right now. Rajat Patidar is a very, very strong name that I think they will be looking at very soon," DK stated
Rahane and Pujara's Omission and Potential Comeback
The omission of experienced Test players Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara from the squad for the South Africa series has raised eyebrows. However, Karthik believes that their absence does not mean they are permanently out of the picture. He stated that if the younger players continue to struggle in overseas conditions, the team management may consider bringing back Rahane and Pujara.
"It looks like they have moved on from Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, but it does not mean they would not come back in the squad. If performances are put like this, then as a coach or a captain, you are going to think, let us go back to those players who have done in those countries that we are going to be touring," DK opined
The Importance of the Second Test
The upcoming second Test is crucial for both India and South Africa. For South Africa, it is a must-win match to avoid a series defeat. On the other hand, India will be eager to bounce back after their disappointing performance in the first Test, where they suffered their biggest-ever Test defeat on South African soil, losing by an innings and 32 runs.
Shubman Gill's position in the Indian Test team hangs in the balance as he struggles to replicate his white-ball success in the longest format of the game. With his place under scrutiny, Gill must deliver a strong performance in the upcoming second Test against South Africa to retain his spot. However, if he fails to impress, India may explore other options like Sarfaraz Khan and Rajat Patidar in the middle order. Additionally, experienced players like Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara could make a comeback if the younger players continue to struggle overseas. The second Test will be a crucial match for both teams as they seek to make their mark in the series.