Young India opener Shubman Gill, who on Wednesday became the youngest player to slam a double century in ODIs, said his intent was to put the New Zealand bowlers under pressure and it paid off. Gill struck a master-class 208 off 149 balls with 19 fours and nine maximums to lift India to an imposing 349 for 8. “I was waiting eagerly to go out and do what I want to do,” Gill said while receiving the player-of-the-match award after India’s nervy 12-run win over New Zealand in the series-opener in Hyderabad.
Gill stepped up his innings brilliantly with his first 50 coming off 52 balls. He went from 50 to 100 off just 35 deliveries and again from 100 to 150 off just 35 balls. But it was his final flurry that saw the acceleration really take off, with Gill going from 150 to 200 in just 23 balls, passing the double-century mark, thanks to three consecutive sixes.
“With wickets falling, at times I wanted to unleash and I’m glad I could do it at the end. Sometimes when the bowler is on top, you need to make them feel under pressure,” Gill said about his strategy.
“I needed to avoid dot balls and show some intent and hit hard into the gaps which I was doing. I wasn’t really thinking of 200, but once I hit sixes in the 47th over, I did feel that I could. Before that, I was playing what was coming to me.”
At 23 years and 132 days, Gill is now the youngest player to score a double-hundred in men’s ODIs, eclipsing his teammate Ishan Kishan, who set the record with his 210 against Bangladesh last month at the age of 24 years and 145 days.
“He (Kishan) is one of my best mates… It feels nice when you are wanting to do something and it is coming off on a regular basis,” Gill said.
Gill took 19 innings to complete 1000 runs in ODIs, joint-second fastest to the feat alongside Imam-ul-Haq.
Fakhar Zaman is the quickest to the mark, having got there in 18 innings.
Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan (24 innings) were previously the quickest Indians to 1000 ODI runs.
“It (double ton) has sunk in pretty well. I won’t call it a ‘wow’ feeling but it feels nice when the ball goes off the bat how you want it.
“There’s certainly a feeling of satisfaction. This is certainly one of those things, like what dreams are made of,” Gill said.
India skipper Rohit Sharma was also effusive in his praise for Gill.
“Watching Gill bat is fantastic, clean striking and no aerial shots. We wanted to give him a run before the Sri Lanka series for the kind of form he was in. He is such a free-flowing batsman,” Rohit said.
Rohit also heaped praise on India pacer Mohammed Siraj, who was the pick of bowlers for India with figures of 4/46.
“Siraj has been brilliant, of late even in the other two formats. He has gone from strength to strength, running hard and clear about what he wants to do. He is not afraid to use the short ball as well which is exciting,” the skipper added.