Colombo: On the eve of the highly anticipated India-Pakistan Super Four match in the Asia Cup, opener Shubman Gill admitted that not facing a quality bowling attack on a regular basis like their opponents for Sunday’s match can often make a “difference” while playing against them in big events.
With no bilateral series happening between India and Pakistan due to political tensions, it means that the two teams face off against each other only in ICC tournaments and Asia Cup, giving India batters virtually no time to gauge and analyse the deadly Pakistan bowling line-up.
“At this level, you would have faced left-arm pacers. Whenever we come across a new bowler it makes a difference as we don’t play against Pakistan as often as we do against some other teams. We all know that their bowling attack is quite good and when you don’t play against such quality attacks like Pakistan’s, it often makes a bit of difference in main tournaments,” said Gill in the pre-match press conference.
In the run-up to Sunday’s game, Gill is banking on the left-arm throw-down specialist Nuwan Seneviratne’s quick deliveries to put out an improved show against the pace trio of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf, who castled him in Pallekele last week.
“Having a left-arm throw down specialist does help a lot. He’s been travelling with us for the past seven to eight years. It helps in preparing for the angle and variations. Playing Pakistan was different.”
“It was my first game at the senior level against Pakistan and there was extra pressure. But at the World Cup, every game is a pressure as all of them are must-win affairs. To get used to that nervousness and pressure here against Pakistan will help us in nine World Cup games,” he added.
Talking about what Shaheen and Naseem bring to the table, Gill observed, “Both of them are different and unique kinds of bowlers. Every bowler has their own area of expertise. I think both of them have separate expertise.”
“Shaheen, as we have seen, mostly swings the ball. Naseem uses pace, and if he is getting help from the wicket, he sets the area accordingly. Both of them are different kind of bowlers who bring in different challenges in different conditions and different situations against the opposition.”
After ending IPL 2023 as the leading run-getter for Gujarat Titans, Gill endured a lean patch and showed signs of breaking it when he smashed 67 not out off 62 balls while stitching an unbroken 147-run partnership with captain Rohit Sharma in a successful rain-curtailed chase against Nepal. Gill feels that one has to back himself to get runs even if they aren’t flowing in a smooth manner.
“Sometimes there is no technical flaw as much and it is also about bowlers being good. They are also there to take wickets. You can get some good deliveries and when you play well, some things go in your favour.”