In an interview with Forbes India before the Test series against England, the 21-year-old Gill revealed that he was part of the leadership group at Kolkata Knight Riders, his IPL franchise, and had to “handhold youngsters” who are new to the set-up.
“My role in the KKR team is to handhold youngsters who are just coming into the team. At that stage, it might be difficult to go up to the coach and the captain and discuss your thoughts. It’s my duty to hear their opinions, what their goals are, and to convey their message to the seniors,” Gill says.
Eoin Morgan took over the captaincy role at KKR midway through last season and Gill talked about how the England skipper has inspired him.
“He [Morgan] plays fabulously well under pressure. I remember a match against KXIP, we were three down for five runs. In a T20 match, if that is your score in the Powerplay, the game is over for you. But Morgan just came in and stepped out and smashed the first ball for four. I, as a batsman, could never think of doing something like that. Watching Morgan do that was inspiring.”
Gill and Morgan shared two important stands for KKR against Kings XI Punjab last season. In the first, the pair added 49 to help KKR recover from 14-2. Gill made a half-century in a two-run win. In the second, 10-3 became 91-4, with Gill scoring 57 and Morgan 40 in an eight-wicket defeat for KKR. Gill credited head coach Brendon McCullum too for how the former New Zealand captain reacts to defeat.
“It’s amazing to see how Brendon McCullum is so aggressive and calm at the same time,” Gill said. “If we don’t have a great team performance, he will be the first person to come and encourage each and every player.”
The youngster, who is coming off the back of a successful tour of Australia, is set to take part in the Test series against England at home, but is yet to nail down a place in India’s limited-overs teams. Still, he is focussed on helping India win the T20 World Cup as well as the World Test Championship.
“The obvious goal this year is to win the T20 World Cup being played in India, if I get a chance in the team,” he said. “Then we have the first Test championship, and if we are able to win that, it will be a great endorsement for Test cricket. With T20 and one-dayers coming in, people aren’t that keen to watch Tests. If we win that, it will give Test cricket a lot of momentum.”
Gill will get a further chance to press his case in the upcoming 2021 Indian Premier League. Morgan will once again captain the side.