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India vs New Zealand: Shubman Gill becomes India's 227th ODI player in Hamilton

Shubman Gill is the seventh youngest ever to debut for India in ODI cricket on Thursday.

Ranit Das Written by: Ranit Das @ranitd94 New Delhi Published on: January 31, 2019 8:11 IST
India vs New Zealand 2019
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Gill made his highly anticipated debut in ODIs for India in Hamilton.

Somebody's pain is somebody's gain and that sentence perhaps is the most fitting in Shubman Gill's case.

KL Rahul's disastrous outing in Karan Johar's chat show Koffee with Karan earned Shubman a much deserved India call-up and on Thursday he became the latest Indian player to don the famous national blue and he is set to sport No.77 on his back.

Gill, 19, replaced captain Virat Kohli, who went off for a holiday following India's series-clinching win at Mount Maunganui on Monday.

The Punjab top-order batsman became India's 227th ODI player and is the seventh youngest ever to debut in the 50-over format with Sachin Tendulkar being the youngest at 16 years and 238 days.

The right-hander, known for his classy batting, has been in terrific form since his U-19 World Cup heroics in New Zealand, where he finished as the second highest run-getter in the tournament with 372 runs from six games as India clinched the title.

Since then, Gill's career graph has only gone north. He was picked up by INR 1.8 crore by Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL 2018 auction and he did well batting lower down the order for the Kolkata franchise, scoring 203 runs from 13 games at an average of 33.83.

The now 19-year-old continued the good work for India A and his State Punjab and grabbed every opportunity with both hands. So far, Gill has played nine first-class matches and scored 1089 runs at an average of 77.78 with 268 against Tamil Nadu being the highest. In List A cricket, he has smashed 1529 runs from 36 games at an average of 47.78.

Predominantly a player who likes to stay tall and punch the ball off his back foot, Shubman's brilliance even caught captain Kohli's eyes, who heaped praise on Team India's latest debutant before leaving.

"I think there are some outstanding talents. We saw Prithvi Shaw grab the opportunity with both hands. Shubman is a very exciting talent and I saw him bat in the nets and I was like wow I was not even 10 per cent of that when I was 19," Kohli said when asked about Gill.

With him being a top-order batsman, Gill's focus will be sealing a spot in India's World Cup squad and with Kohli gone and the series already in the bag, there won't be a better time to prove his case.

But, with India looking at Rayudu as a No.4, Gill could well have to bat down the order much like his time with KKR but the youngster is ready for whatever challenge that is thrown at him.

"If I get an opportunity and make it to the XI and do well for the team and the country, then there are chances that I might make the World Cup squad," he told IndiaTV in an exclusive chat after his selection earlier in the month.

Gill's debut for the senior team also made him the second player from the 2019 World Cup winning batch to graduate into the senior team after Prithvi Shaw, who impressed in the two Tests he played against the West Indies last year.

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