For a long time ardent cricket fans of the Indian team wondered who is next after Virat Kohli. And although his maiden ODI century in August last year and his first Test ton against Bangladesh in December did not ignite the conversation, a phenomenal 2023 did leave many claiming Shubman Gill as the true successor of Kohli.
In the last five months, Gill has smashed six centuries across competitions - three of those came in ODIs, including a record double ton against New Zealand, one in T20Is, where he broke Kohli's record for the highest-ever score by an Indian batter, one in the Border-Gavaskar Test series and then on Monday, Gill registered his maiden IPL ton.
Gill has been impressive in the last couple of IPL seasons, with his numbers having improved on moving from Kolkata Knight Riders to Gujarat Titans, but the century was one milestone that eluded him long, until the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad at his beloved Narendra Modi Stadium where he scored a 58-ball 101.
Gill has had a staggering IPL 2023 so far where he is the highest-scoring India batter with a tally of 576 runs in 13 innings with four fifty-plus knocks.
So have India found the next Kohli or Sachin Tendulkar? Veteran India cricketer Robin Uthappa, an IPL expert at Jio Cinemas, certainly believes that he has "got the stuff."
"I definitely see him having the potential of becoming someone as big as Virat Kohli or Sachin Tendulkar. I certainly think he has got the stuff. He is a phenomenal player who is in exceptional form and is playing some exceptional cricket at the moment," he said.
Uthappa also added Rajasthan Royals' Yashasvi Jaiswal to the conversation, predicting the two youngsters to be the next big thing of Indian cricket. He said: "I feel and believe personally that Shubman Gill and Yashasvi Jaiswal are the two next big things of Indian cricket."
On the back of a magnificent IPL 2023 for the likes of Yashasvi and Rinku Singh, most veteran cricketers have called for their inclusion in the Indian team right after the tournament. Legends like Kevin Pietersen and Suresh Raina have even called for Yashasvi's inclusion in the ODI World Cup scheme of things, but Uthappa disagrees.
The former KKR star opined that such changes might disrupt India's plans so close to the World Cup and rather backed their selection after the tournament in November with an eye on the 2024 T20 World Cup.
"From my experience with the Indian team, I feel they will continue with the experienced players because making wholesale changes this close to the World Cup is not wise. And I think form is temporary. Having said that, I feel post the World Cup we might see wholesale changes. Yes, there are a few injury concerns which needs to be addressed. We are already missing Bumrah and I hope he gets fit before the World Cup. Then you have KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant out and these are areas of concern I feel. I hope we put out a fit team and give ourselves the best chance to win the World Cup," he said.