Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill are easily one of the most talented upcoming Indian batters around. Many believe these two can go on to form the core of India’s batting in all formats of the game in the near future. They also started their careers together. Shaw and Gill were India’s pillars in the 2018 U19 World Cup. Despite starting together at the same time, interestingly, Shaw and Gill have never been on the same platform, one has always been higher than the other. Very few knew about Gill before that U19 World Cup in New Zealand but Shaw, the captain of that side, was already seen as the one for the future. Shaw had a decent World Cup with the bat, led India to the title and made his Test debut a few months later against the West Indies. And guess what, he smashed a hundred in the first Test, justifying all the noise around him.
Gill, who by the way, was India’s highest run-getter in the U19 World Cup and the player of the tournament, was asked to come to the senior side through the hard way – by performing in domestic cricket. For the next couple of years, there was a shift in how the world perceived Shaw and Gill. The former’s struggles against the incoming deliveries started to become evident and Gill raked up runs at the domestic level for fun. As it turned out, both of them were selected for the Australia tour in 2020-21.
Shaw was made to look like a novice by Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins in the first Test. Both the Australian seamers found the gap between the talented right-hander’s bat and pad. In came Gill from the next Test, replacing Shaw and grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
Since then it has been a struggle for Shaw. He hasn’t been able to find a place in the Indian Test squad. In the T20I squad however, he would believe he has been hard done by. Gill, on the other hand, made rapid strides even in white-ball cricket with outstanding performances while opening the batting in ODI cricket. He currently averages 57 with a strike rate of 100.
Former New Zealand pacer Simon Doull, who was one of the broadcasters in the 2018 U19 World Cup and saw both Shaw and Gill up close and personal, said he believed Gill was always a far better prospect than Shaw. “Shubman Gill is a far better player than Prithvi Shaw, which at that time was a big statement,” Doull said during commentary in the first India vs New Zealand ODI in Auckland.
Harsha Bhogle, who too was in the commentary box at that time, shared more details about Doull’s four-year-old comment. “I remember sending a text to Doull asking about Gill and Shaw and he said Gill.”
Gill was looking like a million dollars when Doull and Bhogle were talking about him. The Punjab right-hander, who opened the batting for India with stand-in captain Shikhar Dhawan, smashed a 64-ball half-century – his fourth in just 11 ODIs – but was out while trying to flick a Lockie Ferguson delivery the next ball.