Former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar has emphasized the need for Shubman Gill to elevate his Test performances following a disappointing single-figure score on Day 1 of the first Test against South Africa at Supersport Park in Centurion. Manjrekar pointed out that Gill faces stiff competition for spots and, as a result, must strive for consistent excellence.

Since moving to No.3 during the West Indies tour earlier this year, Gill has encountered challenges in scoring runs. Despite promising innings, the Punjab-born batter has posted scores of 6, 10, 29*, and 2. On the opening day of the first Test against South Africa, debutant Nandre Burger secured an outside edge off Gill’s bat to wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne.

Speaking to Star Sports, Manjrekar acknowledged Gill’s established position in ODI cricket but stressed the necessity of improvement in the longer formats.

“Shubman Gill needs to continue scoring runs. In T20s, he faces significant competition. I believe he’ll receive more support in Test cricket, but consistent numbers are crucial,” he said.

Manjrekar expressed confidence in Gill but acknowledged that there is work to be done in Tests and T20Is.

“Currently, Gill appears firmly established in the 50-over format. In the other two formats, there’s room for improvement, but in terms of class, he’s the real deal,” he added.

While Gill made a stellar debut against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground during the 2020-21 tour and showcased remarkable performances, including his first Test ton against Bangladesh and a second against Australia, his Test cricket average currently stands at a modest 32.20.

“He’s the real deal. There’s undeniable class. Achieving a 90 in his debut Test match in foreign conditions against a strong attack showcases his class. However, it’s now about delivering consistent runs. Currently, his average is in the low 30s. Despite being in the scene for a while, in India, there’s increasing batting competition emerging,” he concluded.