Gill: ‘Everybody looked a bit rusty’


Shubman Gill‘s first match as India captain did not go according to plan as a team full of players trying to make the step up from the IPL to international cricket was found wanting against Zimbabwe in a low-scoring thriller in Harare.

Many of the players on this tour haven’t had a lot of recent cricket behind them, and Gill, at the post-match presentation, suggested that played a part in their downfall. “I think we bowled pretty well but I think we left ourselves down with the fielding. We weren’t up to our standards and I think everybody looked rusty.”

Also a factor was the conditions. Harare offered sideways movement for the new ball and even once that stopped, the pitch was so slow that playing the kind of shots these batters were used to playing in the IPL – hitting through the line and over the top – didn’t always work. Five of India’s top six fell for single-digit scores and four of those fell trying to force the pace.

Gill, who top-scored with 31 off 29 balls, said that his instruction to the team between innings was to bat normally. “Honestly, just take your time, enjoy the batting. Not too many runs on the board. So not much pressure but it wasn’t the way [the match] panned out.

“Halfway down, we had lost five wickets and it would have been best for us if I had stayed there to the end but unfortunately that didn’t happen. Very disappointed with the way I got out and the way this whole match turned out.”

A couple of hits from Avesh Khan kept India in with a chance right at the end, reducing the equation down to 18 off 12 balls. But by that time they only had two wickets in hand and Gill knew those were long odds.

“Definitely there was a bit of hope for us,” he said. “But you know when you are chasing 115 and you want your No. 10 batter to stay out there, something has gone wrong.”

India have a chance to quickly recover the ground they’ve lost with the second game of this five-match series coming up on Sunday.

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