Former England player Kevin Pietersen has backed the out-of-form Shubman Gill after a poor performance in the opening Test against England in Hyderabad. Coming off back-to-back poor Test series in the West Indies and South Africa, Gill scored 23 and 0 in the first Test against England. The focus on him increased as India suffered a shocking 28-run defeat to fall 0-1 behind in the five-match series as well.
Speaking to Jio Cinema after the first Test, Pietersen said, “I don’t think you can get rid of somebody as quickly as one test match. He will definitely play in Vizag and let’s have a look and see how he prepares for the next Test. Let’s not cast Shubman Gill aside and say he can’t play. He can play. When you talk about feelings, he give me the feeling of sheer joy and delight when he walks out to bat. I want to watch him bat.”
Despite his white-ball heroics, Shubman Gill has struggled in the red-ball format, averaging under 30 in 21 games so far as well. Since his stunning 128 in the final Test against Australia at Ahmedabad last year, Gill has gone without a fifty in his previous 10 completed innings. And, Kevin Pietersen admitted that Shubman Gill’s Test numbers are pretty short of what they should be for a batter of his calibre as well, yet he is confident of his potential.
“The average is not looking healthy and those numbers are a sight for sore eyes. You don’t want to look at them. But there is a reason why he is batting at No.3 it’s because of the kind of player that he is and what he can do. So I am not too bothered about two dismissals. What I would be bothered about is his performances in the second and third Test matches,” Kevin Pietersen concluded. “Let’s see where he goes, you are allowed to miss out on a Test match. When we came here in 2012, the whole team missed out on a Test match, but we came back and won the series. Let’s not write off a player because of numbers after one Test match.”
The second Test between India and England will be played at Vizag, starting Friday, February 2.