Will India's quest for an all-format skipper end with him?

image-lanlq7u6Shubman Gill [Source: Twitter]

Not many in a nation of billion people leave an impression in the U-19 World Cup and then go on to prove their credentials in the international circuit. The sample size might be small but his heroics in the Test series down under & his ODI average of 57.90 says that he is here to stay.

Shubman Gill is a name that everyone in this nation expects to have an illustrious career. But, he, for sure, can go beyond the expectations of one and all.

Why Shubman Gill can be the answer India so desperately needs?

Ahead of the first T20I against New Zealand, Shubman Gill said , "It's always about me looking to score than looking for four or six. I want to play fewer dot balls, I want to keep ticking, ones, twos etc. It's more about you being able to wait and swing in the line of the ball rather than swinging hard at the ball."  These lines describe the mature head on the young shoulders.

  • A top-order batter who can rotate strike and attack when needed.
  • A Test opener who has shown signs of promise.
  • Someone who can take Indian cricket forward.
  • Most importantly, a man who walks around with confidence and has an aura similar to a few Indian modern-day greats.

BCCI recently fired the entire selection committee post the humiliation at the T20 World Cup 2022 semi-final against England. The next thing on their agenda is captaincy & as per reports, India will move forward with split captaincy.

But, what if Gill can step up and be the next leader in Indian cricket?

There is no doubt about the fact that Hardik Pandya is the next T20I captain of India if they end up making changes. As far as Test and ODI cricket go, Rohit Sharma will be in charge until the 2023 ICC ODI World Cup in India.

Post that, India will have to ponder over their next leader who can eventually be an all-format skipper. Shubman Gill looks to be the best possible option at the moment. 

One might not agree, but let's just look at the possible options:

  • Shreyas Iyer: He is yet to cement his spot in all formats.
  • KL Rahul: His future in Indian cricket looks dark after his recent dip in form.
  • Rishabh Pant: While Pant is a must in Test cricket, there are still question marks around his T20I and ODI credibility.
  • Hardik Pandya: Playing all three formats consistently is a major challenge for Pandya. The T20I captaincy is a perfect fit for him but all three is still a distant dream.
  • Jasprit Bumrah: A fast bowling skipper in all formats is a big challenge as they need rest every now and then. India is a country that needs a stable leader.

Why is Gill the man for the lucrative job of being the Indian skipper?

Shubman Gill is all set to be a part of India's ODI World Cup in 2023. Whether he plays is still uncertain, but post 2023, he walks into the XI any day. As far as Test cricket goes, he is all set to be a regular. Eventually, he can be the go-to man for India in the most difficult format of them.

The 23-year-old has made a case to feature in India's T20I XI as an opener time and again. By the look of things, he will make his T20I debut in the ongoing New Zealand series. So, a spot in the 2024 T20 World Cup is up for grabs and he is good enough to make it count.

His future in all formats looks great and if he does what he has been doing in the past two years, Gill will surely be a regular in all formats. He is a leader on the field, we have seen it since his U-19 days. 

But, can he lead Team India? How do we judge it?

No one in the world can be certain of this answer but he looks like a great prospect. After the 2023 ODI World Cup, Team India will look for a long-format skipper. The former U-19 vice-captain seems to be the best calculated gamble that the BCCI can take.

Back in the day, a 22-year-old Graeme Smith was handed over the captaincy of South Africa. It was a gamble that Cricket South Africa took and we all know how well it ended up being.

There are multiple reasons why Shubman Gill (who will be 24 years old by then) fits the bill perfectly. But, will BCCI take the gamble? Will BCCI trust a young boy to take over the reins? Time will surely give an answer but as of now, he seems to be leading the race.

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