The Indian team has already been dealt with a blow before their campaign in the ICC Cricket World Cup could begin, as news of swashbuckling opener Shubman Gill falling ill due to dengue has taken everyone by storm. Gill was and is undoubtedly India’s best opening batsman, and arguably their best batsman this year. The youngster had already notched over 1200 runs for India in 2023 with sublime consistency throughout the year.
Not only has Gill displayed excellent consistency throughout the year, he has especially been a threat to India’s first opponents in this year’s edition of the ODI World Cup, Australia. He carried his fine form into the ODI series that preluded the start of the World Cup and put up 168 runs in the 3-match series.
When conversing about the impact Gill has had on India, what he brings to the table as India’s premium opener, and what will be the defining factor for teams in the World Cup, former Australian skipper Aaron Finch had a bit to say.
“What’s going to stand out in this World Cup is the depth of these squads. Most teams are going with an idea what their ideal XI is but that doesn’t always go to plan. There are injuries, fatigue as it’s a long tournament. “Still, India would be pretty comfortable. The difference will be the fear factor Shubman Gill puts into the Australian team,” Aaron Finch said while speaking to Star Sports before the start of the World Cup clash between Pakistan and Netherlands.
Kishan has been a fiery batsman who plays with a certain aggression that could be of great use for India when opening an innings. What he brings to the table is the fiery will to go out and slash a couple of boundaries out the gate, as proven by his spectacular record as an opener for India.
Out of the 25 innings Kishan has played for India, he has opened the batting on seven innings and has scored 448 runs on a blistering average of 74.66. It may seem like the perfect replacement after losing Gill, but Finch has different thoughts on the same.
Aaron Finch explained, “He (Gill) is someone who Australia at times really struggle to bowl to in any format because he has no weaknesses. He is somebody who can hit your best balls. He dominates spin, left-arm pacer, right-arm pace so I think that will be the only difference. Australia will be a little more comfortable bowling to Ishan Kishan in the Powerplay.”
Despite what the numbers say about Kishan, what Finch believes this replacement would provide is an opportunity for the Aussie bowlers to flourish as well.
“Starc and Hazelwood. I would go with that selection if I have to bowl to the left-hander. The outswing to Ishan because I still think he has a few technical faults he still hasn’t quite ironed out over the last while. His front foot closes up quite a bit so if he can swing it early, they can get him. Once he gets in, he moves beautifully. But just those initial balls though, he tends to get vulnerable,” added the former Australia captain.
Only time will tell if Kishan is able to fill the void left by Gill in India’s lineup, but Finch’s comments suggest that Australia may be looking to target him in the Powerplay.