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Manjrekar puts Gill's failure in WTC final on flawed footwork

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Southampton, June 23 (IANS) Former India cricketer-turned-commentator, Sanjay Manjrekar, criticised Shubman Gill’s footwork and blamed it for the young opener’s failure in the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand here.

Gill was caught by wicket-keeper BJ Watling for 28 in the first innings, while in the second innings he was out leg-before to Tim Southee for 8.

“He (Gill) will have to work on his footwork. It is something that is very obvious for everyone to see. He is getting out to the ball that is leaving and the ball that’s coming back in. It’s a problem, and like I mentioned in the first innings, it’s always the front foot,” said Manjrekar on espncricinfo.com.

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“Right through this Test match, not once have I seen him (Gill) go back, so he is really focused on making sure he doesn’t get out to the ball that is pitched up. There was a lot of talk about his front pad not going far enough and getting caught on the crease in Australia. So, he is working excessively on that and (on Tuesday) again he got caught up in making sure that the front pad is across. He left some balls beautifully but then the ball coming back in really surprised him,” added Manjrekar.

Manjrekar felt that not just Gill but stalwarts such as Cheteshwar Pujara and skipper Virat Kohli too were getting into the habit of going in with a “dogmatic approach”.

“It’s the kind of footwork that you see from batters when you are playing in say Australia on a pitch like Adelaide where the ball really starts shooting along the ground, keeps really low with the cracks and then all batters come with the pre-conceived notion that, come what may, you are going to get on to the front foot.

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“So, then, it is understandable for all batters to come with this sort of a dogmatic approach, to get onto the front foot. But you see with (Cheteshwar) Pujara, you’re seeing that with Gill…Virat Kohli plays that as well; you know that’s his basic game. I’m a little sceptical whether that is the right way to go about…to be on the front foot all the time,” said Manjrekar.

–IANS

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