IPL 2023: Passing of the baton from Virat Kohli to Shubman Gill

The manner in which Shubman Gill‘s century for GT trumped RCB talisman Virat Kohli‘s ton was indication that a new era has already dawned in Indian Cricket. For now, ‘King’ Kohli’s legacy is in safe hands…
CHENNAI: Virat Kohli is not new to defeats in the IPL. But rarely in his 16-year stint with Royal Challengers Bangalore has his team lost when ‘King Kohli’ got going in the manner that he did on Sunday at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
It can be interpreted as a passing-of-the-baton moment in Indian cricket, because it was Shubman Gill’s 104 off 52 balls that overshadowed Kohli’s 101 off 61.

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Aussie legend Matthew Hayden, in an interview with TOI a few days ago, said that Gill is “already there”, proving himself to be the man who will take the legacy of Kohli forward, just the way Kohli did 10 years ago when Sachin Tendulkar left the stage.
The rainy Sunday evening in Bengaluru proved Hayden right. Just as Gill’s knock signified that the radiant Punjab boy is ready to take over the mantle from the Delhi legend, it also indicated an evolution in style. Kohli took 10 balls more to get to his century, which isn’t much, but in today’s context of T20 cricket, where every ball is an event, it is huge.

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IPL 2023: Shubman Gill’s record-breaking run

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A closer look at the stats of the two innings will show you that Kohli had hit 13 boundaries and one six, which meant that 58 came from hits to the fence from 14 balls. Gill, on the other hand, hit five boundaries and eight sixes, which meant 68 were scored off 13 balls. That precisely explains the 10-ball difference in getting to their magic marks, which proved crucial in the end in a tight game.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that even on current form, Kohli is lesser to Gill. It’s just the way the two have learnt their games – Kohli isn’t the six-hitting machine that players who have grown up in the T20 era are. For Kohli, hitting an exquisite extra-cover drive to the fence comes more naturally while for Gill, generating that easy power which goes for a six is absolute daal chawal.

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Virat Kohli’s record 7 centuries in the IPL

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“I love how he goes on the leg side and finds power. That he can do and access because he’s got strong wrists and he’s got beautiful timing,” former Australian paceman Brett Lee said.
When Kohli was slowly establishing himself as India’s No. 1 batsman in the first half of the earlier decade, what stood out was his self-confidence. Sometimes it bordered on brashness, but the young Kohli knew he fed off that energy and adrenaline rush to become the player that he is.
Gill, too, has a similar aura of assurance, just that it is a little more understated. But when he bats, he does it the way he thinks right. Even it means that he sometimes gets out after getting in, which can come across as brain fade. “T20 is such a game that you have to keep playing shots. Sometimes you play good shots that go straight into the hands but it is important to have the intent and the belief,” Gill’s confidence was evident in the way he explained his journey in the IPL after the match-winning knock.

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India’s former coach Ravi Shastri, who has seen him grow from close quarters, asked the 24-year-old about his tendency to get out in the 30s and 40s after getting in. Gill didn’t get angry, all he said was, “I know my game. For any player it’s important to know who you are. Yes, I was missing out on the big ones, but I was getting 40s and 50s and thankfully I am getting the big ones now towards the business end.”
That’s good news because there are games of huge consequence lined up over the next few months, starting with a playoff against MS Dhoni’s CSK at Chepauk on Tuesday. The onus is on Gill to walk the talk and keep doing it for his franchise, and more importantly, India.
With Kohli finding form as well, Indian cricket fans may well be in for a treat from the master and the apprentice in the days to come.

CRICKET-AI-1

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