Enjoying a dream race, Gil has now reached five hundred across all formats in just under two months and if the run is extended to three months, the number is six. It includes two hundred Test, three ODI tons including a double and a hundred T20I.
Explaining why he was unable to convert his good starts into greats in his 15 Test career, Gill said: “There was a phase in the middle when I was scoring 40s and 50s (52 and 44 against New Zealand in 2021) and out and when I played the fifth single Test in England I scored around 20 odds (17) and went out early in that inning.”
“I had the feeling that as soon as I prepared, I became too defensive and too cautious. I thought now that I prepared, I will have to fight as long as possible. I was putting myself under too much pressure and that’s not not my game.
“Once I’m ready, I kind of get into a rhythm and that’s my game. So I had to tell myself that if I get kicked out playing my natural game, then it’s okay. But the problem was that I was going out to play the type of game that doesn’t come naturally to me,” he explained.
1️⃣2️⃣8️⃣ Runs2️⃣3️⃣5️⃣ Balls1️⃣2️⃣ Fours1️⃣ [email protected] scored a magnificent century and set #TeamIndia… https://t.co/4fnNpeWCBL
— BCCI (@BCCI) 1678534335000
The root cause was trying to play a defensive game even when he felt ready.
“If I go out trying to play a shot after being placed, I can accept this dismissal, because it is a shot and my execution was not correct. But if I go out playing a game that is not my style, it becomes unacceptable to me,” he was very specific in his thought process.
The key was not to pressure yourself.
“So I had to tell myself that I shouldn’t put too much pressure on myself when a situation like this comes up next time, that I have to convert now that I’m ready. I had to keep some fluidity. was more about the mental makeup and I focused mostly on that.”
“The throw was not easy for the stick”
Gill felt the Motera trail was not easy to score.
“I think on wickets like these it’s hard to score runs with ease, but it’s also important that on these wickets you have to be positive and keep looking for those singles.”
The six he hit against Nathan Lyon late on the second night was outstanding.
“He (Rohit) just arrived and he was a bit surprised. But I said it was my shot. If the off-spinner plays on a good wicket we play now and the pitch is up and it was my shot and I was confident that I would hit it for a limit (six).”
The secret to royal workouts with a straight bat
Having played a lot of cricket on cement wickets at his home in Mohali, Gill developed an affinity for horizontal batting. He hit a few on-drives where he could play with a straight bat rather than an angled one and he explained his process.
“I think one of those shots develops automatically when you play bouncer. I’m used to playing bouncers with a plastic ball on cement surfaces and balls that are a bit fuller.
“It developed as I practiced it (again) and it was more instinctual than anything else.”
“Do not play cross shots”
Gill said that on a track like this where there are lulls, you have to train your mind not to play prying shots.
“You have to constantly remind yourself that things are going well because there was a phase where we didn’t reach a limit for a very long time and at that point you had to tell yourself that it’s not serious if you don’t get races now but stick to your processes there will be an overshoot where you will get 2-3 limits.
“So the process is not losing patience, you can get out but also you might be able to get some boundaries.”
The only question he avoided was when asked if missing the first two tests was frustrating and how he was doing.
“To be honest, not much. I was just training, training and getting opportunities didn’t depend on me but on the management of the team. I did everything that was under my control.”