Shubman Gill and Abhishek Sharma, who are playing for Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad, respectively, in the Indian Premier League (IPL), have a good future and all they need is some guidance, says former India international Yuvraj Singh.
“I spent about a month and a half with them and worked with them. They have great skill levels, but it was more about working on their mindset – how to approach a T20 game. For Abhishek as a middle-order batsman and for Shubman as an opener, you have to approach (the roles) differently,” Yuvraj said on the Tissot presents Sportstar Extras T20 Time show.
“I have been at that stage where they are now. Shubman is someone who is playing for India and Abhishek has shown a lot of promises as an all-rounder. When I started batting with them, they got that momentum – how to approach a game in T20s,” said Yuvraj, who quit international cricket last year.
The Player of the Tournament at the 2011 World Cup, Yuvraj had long sessions with a few young cricketers from Punjab including Gill and Sharma earlier this year where he kept an eye on the duo’s fitness levels, fed them home-cooked meals and made them sweat it out in his personal gym.
When Yuvraj broke into the Indian team in 2000, T20s were still a while away. But over the years, the game has evolved immensely along with the development of not just T20 cricket but also T10. “When you play Test cricket, you have a lot of time. Initially, we thought the 50-over format was fast-paced because you were chasing big targets and building partnerships. But when the T20s came, the 50-over format looked like a Test match,” Yuvraj said.
“But now that I have played T10 as well, I feel that T20 has a lot of time. Due to a lack of experience, I see a lot of youngsters rushing to play big shots. But you have got to pace your innings out – if you are an opener or even bat at No. 3. But if you come in at No. 4 or No. 5, you don’t have so much time. So, it depends on what situation you are batting in.”
For that, time management is very important in T20s. “Time goes past quickly. When I was a captain, I realised that there were times when I was not standing at the right field position because I was worried about the game. Since it is fast-paced, you need good preparation time,” Yuvraj, who captained Kings XI Punjab in the first few editions of the IPL, said.