In the final league match of the IPL between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Gujarat Titans, Van Parnell’s full toss outside the off stump was dropped by Shubman Gill as the umpire ruled the ball wide as Parnell waited for the next delivery. Ever since wides and no balls have been included in DRS in the IPL, batsmen look more to add runs. Out of the total DRS taken by the batsmen so far this season, 14 DRS have been taken on full toss balls.
However, only three times out of them happened that this ball was declared a no ball and this ball was one of them. It is one of the great ironies of T20 cricket that a format known for high-pressure play has invented many things that are inherently defensive in nature. Knuckle ball, carrom ball and wide ball are among them. Parnell was going to bowl to Gill, who played like a power hitter, scoring 98 off 50 balls. However, this Gill was only known as an anchor batsman till a year ago. But in this match he not only completed his century with a six but also showed Royal Challengers Bangalore the way out of the tournament.
Gill has hit a total of 33 sixes in IPL 2023. However, out of that he hit 8 sixes against Bengaluru alone on Sunday. His game has not changed but is expanding. Gill was among the list of batsmen who hit the most fours in the last two seasons. This season too, he is at number three in this matter. The way he is finding gaps is really amazing. His batting has reached a different height this year. At the ground in Ahmedabad, where 31 per cent of runs have come in sixes, Gill hit his first boundary after a 37-ball 68 against Lucknow Supergiants. Although he hit two fours in his innings, his unbeaten innings of 94 included seven sixes. From Sunil Gavaskar to Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli believe in taking less risks. Such batsmen believe in spending enough time at the crease before changing their gears.
Gill fits perfectly into this category and has faced both praise and criticism in equal measure. Anyone who has criticized him has only cited Gill’s strike rate. Indian cricket evaluates a batsman based on how many runs he is scoring, though world cricket has started expecting more from a batsman. Kevin Pietersen used to say that his first instinct was to send the ball to the boundary and that gave birth to the switch hit. He used Switch Heat in 2006.
Which was way ahead of its time at that time and today there was a time when even young kids don’t hesitate to change stances and hit switch hits while playing cricket. Gill has also decided to take a risk. According to one data, he has played lofted shots 75 times this season. In this sense, on average, he appeared in search of a six every 6.5 balls. Which is better than the 2022 and 2021 average of 7.3. The average in 2020 was 7.6 while in 2019 it was 8.2. This is good news because the tradition is established by the king. If he is able to create a game for himself that can be a role model for other batsmen, other batsmen will have no choice but to follow suit.