Today I batted with Gill's bat as I often does in pressure games: Abhishek Sharma

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Harare, Jul 7 (PTI) After blitzing a 47-ball century, Abhishek Sharma said he used the bat of his childhood friend, and now his captain here, Shubman Gill in the second T20I against Zimbabwe, and the opener termed it as a lucky charm in a “pressure game” for him.

After getting dismissed for naught in the first match on Saturday, Abhishek, a day after, hammered seven fours and eight sixes in his even hundred, laying the foundation for India’s comprehensive 100-run win.

Abhishek described his journey with Gill as “beautiful”, which started from the under-12 category.

“It has been quite beautiful, starting as kids of 11-12 years. Yeah, we are playing together from Under-12. When I was selected for the country, the first call I received was from Shubman,” said Abhishek in the post-match press meet.

Abhishek said playing with Gill’s bat has been a practice that he follows from the age-group cricket.

“Today, I played with his bat, so special thanks to the bat. It happened from the under-12 days, as whenever I play a pressure game I ask him for a bat.

“It had happened in the IPL as well. Today was no exception as it went well as it usually happens,” said Abhishek.

The left-hander also thanked former India batter Yuvraj Singh and his own father for the fearless cricket that he was able to play now.

“Yuvi paaji (Yuvraj Singh) has made a big contribution. I don’t consider myself as sixer-king or something like that. Special thanks to my dad for allowing me to play lofted shots.

“Generally, coaches don’t allow a young batter to hit lofted shots. But my dad always said if you wanted to play a lofted shot then it should go out of the ground. So, I wanted to follow that,” he elaborated.

So, was there pressure on him ahead of his T20I international debut, which he made in the first game here on Saturday? “I think the IPL plays a big role in this (handling pressure). We did not feel much pressure when we came here to represent the country as debutants.

“Unfortunately, we didn't start well in the first match. But my mindset and approach were pretty much similar – to show the right intent.” The 23-year-old was ousted in the opening over itself for a four-ball duck in the first match. But for Abhishek, it was not enough to transform his mindset or approach.

“This is my game and I will go for the shot from the first ball if it’s there in my slot. If it’s my day then it works out, and if it does not, then I don’t mind. I practice a lot for this mindset,” he said.

However, Abhishek said he implemented his gameplan much better in the second match.

“Of course, my execution was better today than yesterday. I was just calculating the risk that I should take in the first over, or whether to play according to the merit of the ball.

“Whenever I get boundaries or sixes in the first few balls then I believe that it’s my day,” he signed off. PTI UNG PDS PDS

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