Only a day remains before high-profile India vs Pakistan contest begins in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, but there still remains a sense of mystery over the status of Shubman Gill‘s availability. The opening batter, who was down with dengue fever for a few days, hit the nets on Thursday, two days before the start of the Indo-Pak contest in Ahmedabad. But, is he fully fit to feature against Pakistan? If Shubman joining his teammates in Ahmedabad and batting in the nets for an hour is a hint, the former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief selector feels the talented batter will ‘definitely play’ against Babar Azam‘s men.

“I think we can put an end to all kinds of speculations. Shubman Gill will definitely play this game (vs Pakistan). He’s too good a player to miss out. He had just a fever. He has recovered. It was not threatening at all that we would even think about replacements. It’s all rumours that are coming out (about the seriousness of the illness) in whatever form that you are hearing,” former India chairman of selectors MSK Prasad told Hindustan Times.

“What we heard was that as a matter of precaution, he couldn’t play the second game otherwise he was fine. He stayed back for one more day in Chennai as a precaution. He recovered well, and was discharged. See if someone is playing for 1 bour that means he has recovered. This is an all-important game against Pakistan. If he is fit, which I’m sure he is, then he should be in India’s playing XI,” he further said.

Gill plays for the Gujarat Titans in the Indian Premier League, with the Narendra Modi Stadium being the franchise’s home ground. Having played there for a long time, registering some magnificent knocks, Gill has what it takes to deliver at the venue.

Though Ishan Kishan has done well in ODI cricket of late, MSK feels Gill should get the nod over him if deemed fit to play.

“This is the ground where he has played his franchise cricket. He understands every blade of grass about this ground. He knows how to get runs here. With the kind of record he has at this ground and the kind of record he had in the last 1 year, he should definitely play. In the first couple of games, especially against Afghanistan, we didn’t require him. The others did the job but now if we look at Pakistan, they are also coming on the back of two wins. It would be very good if we go in with the best possible XI. Ishan of course has done reasonably well in the second game but when a person like Shubman Gill is there, you have one more match-winner to the XI. This is not a T20 game where he needs to go slam-bang. He can take his time, get set, occupy the crease and then see how it goes. Ideally, I would want him in the XI,” the former India cricketer said.

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