India vs England – Gill says he was feeling pressure going into the second Test

Shubman Gill
has admitted to feeling nervous and under pressure going into the second Test against England in Visakhapatnam where he scored 34 in the first innings – India’s second-highest score – and, more crucially, 104 in the second innings to help set a match-winning target of 398.

“I’ll sum it up in one line. My heartbeat playing the first ball and the last ball was the same throughout the innings,” Gill said when asked by Kevin Pietersen on Sports 18 whether he had felt under pressure batting at No. 3 for India. “That’s how nervous I was feeling even after scoring my hundred (laughs). That was what I was talking to Rahul [Dravid] sir in the morning when England were batting. It was quite weird for me. I have never experienced like this.

“Obviously, not being able to score runs the previous few matches,” Gill said, elaborating on why he had felt under pressure. “It wasn’t the outside noise but the expectations that I have for myself… I was disappointed how I got out in the first innings here [in Visakhapatnam] and in the first innings in Hyderabad. So all of that expectations, I was disappointed, maybe that’s the reason.”

Gill did not take the field on the fourth day because of a finger injury, but he said he would be fine in a few days.

Coming into the second Test against England, Gill had played nine innings at No. 3 with a high score of 36, after asking the team management to bat in that position instead of opening. “People kept asking me why I went from opening to No. 3. I told them that I have batted at No. 3 in first-class and scored three double-hundreds at No. 3 and No. 4,” Gill said. “So it wasn’t something that I have never done in my life. But batting at No. 3 is obviously different in internationals. And I was thankful that I got the experiences and the opportunities and the mistakes that I made… they all led up to this innings [the century’. Hope to learn from these experiences.

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“I don’t read the newspapers but I have seen it with other players. I don’t go on social media to see what people are saying. Because you know, if you’re not doing well, you don’t expect people to tell you you’re not doing well. You know yourself you’re not doing well. More than anyone else, it was my own personal disappointment that I wasn’t performing the way I wanted to perform. My dad said I missed out on a big one, I did kinda agree with him (laughs). I didn’t tell (him) about the heartbeat.”

Gill survived three close calls during the first hour of day three, but then went on to find fluency in his innings, scoring 104 off just 147 balls. He was eventually caught behind, after gloving an attempted reverse sweep to the wicketkeeper.

“Definitely it was satisfying for me,” Gill said of his hundred. “But I was trying to get a big one for myself and the team. Because the way England were playing, we wanted to get 450-500. Disappointed that I got out just after scoring a hundred, wanted to carry on and get a big one for the team. Hopefully I grab that in the next match.”

Gill said that he had tried to be more true to his natural game in this Test, after scoring 23 off 66 balls and a second-ball duck in the first Test in Hyderabad. “In the first Test, I honestly thought I was trying to take a bit more a safer approach and that’s not how I grew up playing my game. This Test, I played just how I feel like playing. That’s what I told myself.”

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