Shubman is a self-confessed fan of Virat. Thus, when he received his maiden call-up to the Indian team for the upcoming ODI and T20 series in New Zealand, the 19-year-old’s joy knew no bounds. Finally, he was going to realize his dream of sharing the dressing room with his ‘idol’.
“I am really excited to share the dressing room with Virat. It is a surreal feeling. He is my idol. I like the way he handles pressure. Now, I’ll get the chance to learn from him directly,” Shubman told TOI. “Often I watch Virat’s batting videos on YouTube. Whatever I learn, I try and put it into practice in the nets,” the youngster added.
Shubman is hopeful of pushing for a spot in the 2019 World Cup squad, if given a chance to play. “If I do well for my country, then there is a chance that I might even make the 2019 World Cup squad,” he said. “For that, I will have to make good every opportunity that is given to me.”
Although he is an opener, Shubman is ready to bat at any position for Team India. “My preference is the opening slot but if I am given an opportunity in the middle-order, I will try and maximize that chance.”
Shubman’s recent form has been stupendous. In the ongoing Ranji Trophy, Shubman has been nothing short of Bradmanesque. He has scored 728 runs in 5 matches (9 innings) at an average of 104. The strike-rate – 77.88 – has also been sensational.
“The Ranji season so far has been great for me. I am in good nick and hitting the ball well. The confidence of having scored runs on a consistent basis is there. Grinding it out in domestic cricket has improved my game enormously,” said Shubman.
Talking about the last 24 hours in his life, Shubman said, “It was a surprise call-up for me. I was just going to sleep and suddenly at around 1 am, I got messages from reporters saying that I have been selected. For the first few seconds, I was in a state of shock. After that, I went and told my father. Initially, I thought this was more of a speculation type of news; but then when I got the call from BCCI, I was over the moon.”
For Shubman, who hails from Chak Khede Wala village in Punjab’s Fazilka district, New Zealand holds special memories as it is in this country that he made his first impression as a promising batsman during the 2018 U-19 World Cup which India won.
Shubman was thankful to Rahul Dravid for the evolution in his game. “I am deeply influenced by Rahul Sir. He has been with me for the last two years – at the U-19 level and then during the India ‘A’ tours. He understands my batting really well. He ensured my batting evolved and got better.”