Sanjay Manjrekar believes that Team India’s top-order batter Shubman Gill must work on having a strong defence during the ongoing five-match home Test series against England.
The cricketer-turned-commentator pointed out how Gill has been under the scanner following a string of poor performances in the red-ball format. He opined that the youngster cannot rely solely on his attacking game, especially in the spin-friendly conditions in India.
Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, the former cricketer said:
“He is under pressure, not just in Test cricket but in T20 cricket as well. I think there is a crowd gathering around him, making his life a little difficult. In the 50-over format, I think he is set for the moment. In Test cricket, there is one imperative that you need, unless you are batting down at No. 6 or No. 7, but even then, you need it, especially with the kind of pitches India have had in the recent past at home, where you need to have a good defence.
“If you can’t defend and if you are looking to attack your way out of trouble, that works in 50-over cricket and T20 cricket, but in Test cricket, you need to have a reasonably good defence, and that is what Shubman Gill should be focusing on.” Manjrekar added.
Shubman Gill failed to get going with the bat during the recently concluded two-match Test series against South Africa, finishing with 74 runs across four innings. Overall, he has 1040 runs to his name from 20 Tests at an average of 30.58.
“With all due respect, I wasn’t impressed with either of his skills” – Sanjay Manjrekar on KS Bharat’s keeping and batting
During the same discussion, Sanjay Manjrekar also expressed concerns over the wicketkeeping and batting skills of KS Bharat, highlighting how the 30-year-old was quite ordinary during India’s four-match home Test series against Australia last year.
He suggested that instead of playing Bharat, he would have KL Rahul keep wickets against England and rope in someone else for the extra spot. Manjrekar stated:
“I really don’t think that KS Bharat is the stronger keeper. He came with a lot of promise, but we got to see him properly in that series against Australia, keeping wickets and batting as well. With all due respect, I wasn’t impressed with either of his skills. So, it would not have been a bad compromise (dropping Bharat for KL Rahul). It is again a compromise to have KL Rahul, but it’s not like KS Bharat is a Wriddhiman Saha that you are keeping out because you need good keepers behind the stump. I would rather stick with KL Rahul and have the benefit of another spot open.”
KS Bharat found a place in India’s playing XI for the Test series opener against England, at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad, which commenced on Thursday, January 25.