Former India coach Ravi Shastri wants to see Shubman Gill given another chance during the remaining Border-Gavaskar Tests against Australia.
Despite some impressive recent form against both the red-ball and in the limited overs arena, Gill was overlooked for the opening two Tests against Australia as selectors opted for the more experienced, though struggling KL Rahul, at the top of the order.
Gill hit his maiden Test century against Bangladesh in December and has put his name at the forefront of selectors' minds with four white-ball centuries for his country — including a magnificent 208 in an ODI against New Zealand last month — already this year.
Shastri was speaking with host Sanjana Ganesan on the most recent episode of The ICC Review and the former national coach believes the time is right for Gill to be parachuted back into India's XI and be given another opportunity to show his wares.
"He (Gill) is that good at the moment and whether he scores or doesn't score, on form, on merit, he deserves a chance," Shastri said."When you have a player that confident and then his performances of late and the way he's batted — there'll be a lot of players in that team thinking within themselves 'How's this guy not playing? They must be thinking, to be honest, it's like that, the dressing room. I know that dressing room. They'll be feeling, Gee man, this guy is hot," the former India coach said. If Gill does earn a recall for the third Test that commences in Indore on Wednesday then selectors have a number of options at their disposal when deciding the final make-up of their XI.
Experienced top-order performers KL Rahul and Cheteshwar Pujara are yet to fire in this series, while Shreyas Iyer managed just 16 runs from his two innings during India's six-wicket victory in the second Test in Delhi. Shastri has predicted Gill to earn a recall to India's top-order for the third Test, adding that he does not expect this to upset the team balance too much as India strives for a series sweep and to book their place at this year's ICC World Test Championship final in June.
"Not at all. I mean, it's straight up, It comes down to performance," Shastri noted, when asked about how making changes to a winning team may affect chemistry. You stick it on the board. This is the performance. It's a tough thing for a coach, I remember I had to do it many times, where you just sit down, and explain to the player," Shastri said.
The former India all-rounder suggested a break for India opener KL Rahul and mentioned that the time off from cricket will help the batter regain form and make a strong comeback. "Sometimes a break for a player in those times is far better because you can go away, work on his game and come back stronger. I remember in my tenure, in the first Test at England, Pujara was dropped and he came back with hundreds. KL Rahul was dropped in Australia in 2019 and came back strongly too," Shastri said.
India will face Australia in Indore in the third Test of the Border-Gavaskar trophy scheduled to begin on March 1.