Border, Gavaskar back Gill to open in 1st Test ahead of Shaw

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar and former Australia skipper Allan Border have backed Shubman Gill to open the Indian innings in the first Test against Australia at Adelaide as an opener ahead of Prithvi Shaw, who they feel is loose outside the off-stump and plays too many shots.

While Shaw failed to get a fifty, aggregating 62 in four innings at an average of 15.5 in the two warm-up games over the last week, Gill made 127 at 31.75 with a 65 in those games.

Speaking to the media in a virtual conference, Border said, “I have been in Sydney the last couple of days watching your boys run around against Australia A. Gee, I was impressed with Gill. I really think he has got something about him. His technique. I know he is young, he can plays some rash shots, but gee he looks a seriously good player, this kid. He would be my pick out of the guys I saw.”

The 1987 World Cup-winning Aussie captain said that Shaw needs to be careful with his shot selection.

“It seems to me he (Shaw) plays the shorter ball against the new ball. It looks good on flatter tracks but in Australia you’ve got to be a bit more watchful about your shot selection. He seems to be loose outside the off-stump for me. If I am an Indian selector, I am going to look very closely at young Gill,” added Border.

Gavaskar agreed with Border, saying that the young Mumbai batsman needs to spend a little more time assessing his batting and give himself more time at the crease.

“I think he (Shaw) has got to spend a little more time assessing his batting. Because as an opening batsman, you’ve got to give yourself time to see what the pitch is doing and see what the bowler is doing and trying to bat the way he is batting at the moment is not going to make him (a consistent player). Yes, he is going to make runs once in a while but for him to do that consistently he needs to tighten up his defence. I agree with AB that he is playing far too many shots at the start of the innings,” said Gavaskar.

Gavaskar concurred with Border on Shubman opening the batting, saying, “I think Shubman will open in the first Test. I think he has shown good form. AB (Allan Border) was there, he was very impressed with what he saw of Shubman Gill. So I would imagine that he should open the batting with Mayank Agarwal.”