IPL gave Gill, Siraj the confidence to shine, says Shastri

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Cricket – Second Twenty20 International – Australia v India – Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, Australia – December 6, 2020 India’s Hardik Pandya and Shreyas Iyer celebrate after the match REUTERS/Loren Elliott

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Playing alongside top international players in the Indian Premier League (IPL) has developed a fearlessness in opener Shubman Gill and quick Mohammed Siraj, said India coach Ravi Shastri after the duo excelled in the second test against Australia.

Both Gill and Siraj were making their test debuts in an India side that had been thrashed inside three days in the Adelaide opener and they helped the tourists give Australia a taste of the own medicine with an eight-wicket victory.

Replacing an out-of-form Prithvi Shaw, Gill produced fluent knocks of 45 and 35 not out in the low-scoring contest at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Right-arm quick Siraj, coming in for injured seamer Mohammed Shami, bowled with relentless hostility to claim five wickets.

“That’s the way, that’s the brand of cricket we’ve been playing for the last three or four years,” Shastri said.

“I think a lot has to do with IPL. The fact that they share dressing rooms with international players, they rub shoulders with the best, that complex factor disappears very quickly.”

Shastri was delighted with Siraj’s ability to bowl long spells and was particularly impressed by Gill’s flair.

“In the second innings, it’s very easy to get into a shell but he went out there and played his natural game. It was great from the team point of view,” the coach added.

Ajinkya Rahane, who took over the captaincy when expectant father Virat Kohli returned home after Adelaide, said Gill, 21, had showed a good mix of shotmaking and patience.

“Shubman has done really well in first class career,” he added.

“Even in this game he showed that he can actually play shots and, at the same time, he can bat with composure.”

He was also impressed by Siraj’s control and accuracy.

“It’s very difficult for a debutant to show that kind of discipline,’ said Rahane.

Sydney hosts the third test from Jan. 7.

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