Former New Zealand cricketer Scott Styris is hopeful that young batting star Shubman Gill will have a standout season as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will begin their IPL 2020 campaign against the Mumbai Indians on September 23 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. However, all eyes will be on Andre Russell.
Scott Styris said that Shubman Gill is a fantastic cricketer and also called him the best batsman in the KKR team this season, particularly after the release of Robin Uthappa from the team before IPL 2020 Auction.
Shubman Gill Is Fabulous And Talented But Will Be Under Pressure: Scott Styris
The 20-year old opener Shubman Gill from Punjab was acquired by the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2018 and turned in useful contributions for them on his debut and previous seasons. He scored 499 runs averaging 33.26.
“I’ve been the No.1 cheerleader, since the last 18 months. Since Shubman Gill has been around I can say I’m at the top of that Fanboy list and I think Gill is a fabulous cricketer. I think he’s a terrific, talented batsman.
“Shubman Gill, now with the loss of Robin and Gautam Gambhir at KKR, he’s now a leader, the focal point of that batting unit, he is best batsman of KKR,” he said, speaking on Star Sports show ‘Game Plan’.
Scott Styris also added that there is a lot of pressure on Shubman Gill as compared to other youngsters like Prithvi Shaw of DC and Devdutt Padikkal of RCB who have other great cricketers in their team. That means in case of a failure they have other stars to depend upon for putting up a large total on the scoreboard, unlike Shubman Gill.
“The big difference though was with some of the other young players around, like Prithvi Shaw or Devdutt Padikkal, these young superstar talents is that they’re allowed to sort of grow into their role.
“So, there’s a lot more responsibility on Gill that you don’t see with a lot of those other youngsters and that may be the only thing that holds him down. Just looked great and he has played great, but he has got the extra responsibility that some of those other players don’t,” Styris said.
Prithvi Shaw plays for Delhi Capitals which has senior batsmen like Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer to depend on, while Devdutt Padikkal plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore which has batsmen in the ranks of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Aaron Finch to back him up.
Scott Styris: KKR Should Be In Top 4 But Bench Strength Matter Of Concern In Case Of Injuries To Major Players
However, Scott Styris also said that KKR team seem to be a quality side this season and are there in his top four teams to qualify for the play-offs for IPL 2020.
“I mentioned that Mumbai and Delhi at their own bubble at the top. I’ve got KKR sitting there in 3rd place,” he said.
Scott Styris was excited about the bowling potential in the side presently, but felt that if there are a few injuries in the tournament, then their bench strength could concern them.
“There’s so much talent with the bowling we still looking forward to seeing Shivam Mavi and Nagarkoti bowling together from what two seasons ago when India won the under 19 World Cup.
“There is Ferguson, Cummins and Andre Russell, a pace bowling which can take care of anybody. But they never seem to get everybody on the park, and they get a couple of injuries. I worry about the bench strength,” he said.
Australian vice-captain and no.1 pacer Pat Cummins will bowl alongside Kiwi pacer Lockie Ferguson and KKR team consists of young Indian pace talents like Shivam Mavi, Prasidh Krishna, Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Sandeep Warrier.
Kuldeep Yadav and uncapped Varun Chakraborty will lead the spin attack. Andre Russell will contribute with his pace also while spinner Sunil Narine will look forward as UAE offers assistance to spinners.