Yograj Singh happens to be the father of legendary former Indian batsman, Yuvraj Singh. He has hailed young opener, Shubman Gill, as an exceptional talent and has backed him and Team India to tame the Aussies Down Under, and repeat history.
Team India is having a challenging, yet enjoyable time Down Under. They are giving a fightback to Australia in the ongoing Test series to defend the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. While most of the players are playing their part, one of the players to watch out for is the young opener, Shubman Gill, who made his Test debut in the just-concluded Melbourne Test, won by India.
India will heavily rely on Gill's services if they stand a chance to retain the title. Meanwhile, former Indian cricketer and father of legendary former Indian batsman, Yograj Singh, has backed Gill to scale new heights in the coming days and believes that India has what it takes to repeat history, Down Under.
Speaking exclusively to Asianet Newsable, Yograj talked on Gill and Team India's current reign in Australia, alongside many other topics. Here are the excerpts:
Where do you see Shubman Gill a few years from now?
"We [Yuvraj and Puneet Bali] had a discussion earlier about this. He [Gill] is an extraordinary, talented and gifted player. But, I have a difference of opinion here. Be is any talented cricket, like Gill, or Abhishek Sharma, the practice by using plastic balls is really important."
"Although Gill is a good talent, getting 40 or 50 odd runs is not just enough, especially in the longer format in Australia. If you are a great talent, you should know how to cash-up a chance given to you. You should be able to convert these 40s and 50s into 100s and even more."
"In my book, getting out at any score is unacceptable. If you are getting out, something is wrong with the shot you played, even if it is a good ball. Same goes for Shubman, as he should practice more with the plastic balls, while one good innings would help him in the longer run."
Can you shed more light on practising with the plastic ball?
"Even the tennis ball for that matter. Because, international cricket is all about hooking, pulling and playing cut shots. In case you are unable to do that, you won't survive long by just playing down the line. Even Yuvi practised using plastic balls at a very young age, and people were surprised to see how he used to play pull shots at the international level, while he gave credit to the plastic ball."
"Even as Yuvi mentors the young Punjab boys, we were told to get plastic balls from Delhi. Later, the likes of Bishan Singh Bedi, Rahul Dravid and even Sachin Tendulkar felt that it was helping the boys in the long run, especially when it came to performing at a senior and international level."
"Thus, that is the level of practice which is missing. If you are playing in Australia, there will be a fear of the ball bouncing too much, along with the pace. Puneet and Yuvi said that the boys could get injured, as getting hit by a plastic ball stings. But, that's how international cricket goes."
What are India's chances to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after Melbourne win?
"It's incredible the way India has bounced back, especially after losing the opening Test in such a poor manner. Indian cricket has risen extensively right after the IPL [Indian Premier League] started. Playing with foreign players and getting exposed to their strengths and weaknesses has allowed them to fare so well. As of now, with this kind of performance, the Indian team is sure to earn a major boost and stand a high chance to retain the title."
What led to India faring so poorly with the bat in Adelaide?
"I think the pink ball did a little more than the regular red ball. The kind of pace and bounce the Australians generated in the second innings was highly different from the first. I have always said that the batsmen need to be smart when the opposition bowlers are bowling fiercely."
"Also, what happens in Australia is the batsman does not just have to face two good bowlers. He has to face five lethal bowlers. And, once they start bowling aggressively, the batsmen get into a defensive mindset. Trust me, in Australia, it isn't easy to stick to the pitch if you think about defending it all the time. You have to play your shots."
"I had never thought that India would stoop so low and get bundled out for its lowest Test total. But, that's how the game is. What I am really happy is the way it bounced back in the following Test."
How do you rate India's current bowling attack, judging by the fact that even with a lead of just over 100 becomes a monumental task for the opponents?
"I think Indian bowling has come a long way and I'm so happy about this. I still remember I used to chat with Kapil Dev that why don't we have enough fast bowlers in India? But, after India won the 1983 World Cup, Dev became the pace spearhead for India, which was a welcome change for the side."
"Now, if you talk about prominent pacers like [Jasprit] Bumrah or Mohammed Shami, or even [Mohammed] Siraj, it's both amazing and wonderful. These bowlers are as good as any other good pacers in the world. As far as Bumrah is concerned, the sling that comes out of his action puts the batsmen in a tough situation."
"With this attack, we can beat any team in the world. India has come a long way in this, thanks to IPL. Even the board has focused more on this, on getting talents from rural areas, just like former Pakistani pacers: Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar."
Will Virat Kohli be under pressure if Ajinkya Rahane finds success in Australia as captain?
"I don't think so. He [Kohli] has done so much for Indian cricket. I don't think it would be an issue at all. In case he wishes to continue just as a player, it's entirely his choice. But, he has undoubtedly been a wonderful captain."
"As for Rahane, whenever he has led the side, India has won a Test match. It's a great feat he has achieved so far. But, I don't think it will have any adverse effects on Kohli's captaincy. He will be there as the captain of the side as long as he and his side performs."
"We should not judge people so quickly. But, Rahane is a unique talent with such a beautiful record, which makes us have two captains in the format. And, that we don't have Dhoni for a long time in the format, both Kohli and Rahane make a wonderful pair. It's a team game and they should all work together."
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Last Updated Dec 31, 2020, 2:53 PM IST