Former India captain Anil Kumble was mighty impressed with Chennai Super Kings opener Ruturaj Gaikwad's six-hitting prowess during his 92-run knock in the IPL opener against Gujarat Titans, saying all his hits over the fence were "clean" and results of "pure timing".
However, Gaikwad's show, featuring four boundaries and nine sixes from 50 balls, was overshadowed by the Titan's all-round performance. Shubman Gill struck 63 off 36 balls to help the defending champions Titans chase down the 179-run target in 19.2 overs.
"We don't associate him (Gaikwad) with six hitting but to hit nine sixes in an inning is really amazing. Clean, it looked really clean. It was not like he was going out of shape and trying to muscle it, just pure timing," said Kumble in a release from the official IPL broadcasters.
Former India wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel also praised Gaikwad, one of the players retained by CSK during the mega auction last year ahead of IPL 2022, for his dazzling knock.
"It seemed like Ruturaj Gaikwad was batting on a different wicket compared to the other batsmen. The approach he used is extremely praiseworthy," said Parthiv, a JioCinema IPL expert.
Gaikwad's form during IPL 2021 -- he scored 635 runs in 16 games, including a century -- was instrumental in CSK winning their fourth IPL title. His dip in form coincided with the Chennai outfit finishing ninth among 10 teams last year.
He has a special liking for Titans bowling attack, as in the three innings he has played against Hardik Pandya's side, he has scored 218 runs, including a half-century in every game.
Patel felt that CSK's score of 178 was not competitive enough to unnerve the Titans.
"On this wicket, the target was below par, so a strong start is essential. I think the Gujarat Titans got that and kept the momentum. The way the Titans started their chase, Wriddhiman Saha got the license to use the first six overs to his advantage as much as he could," said the former India wicketkeeper-batter.
Patel predicted that from the way Gill was batting on Friday, he could score 600 runs this season.
"Shubman Gill did what we know Shubman Gill can do and carried over his international form into the IPL. We may get to see a 600-run season from Shubman Gill."
Gill's performance also came in for praise from Kumble, who hailed the youngster's attitude.
"Right at the end, he (Gill) said that 'I was not happy with the way I got out,' which means that he wants to improve and if he's in that situation in the next game, he wants to finish the game for his team. That's a very good sign for a young player.
"We spoke about it on the pre-match show on how he's improved from getting 40s and 50s to 100s in one-dayers and 200. Now, I am sure that this is a good sign for Indian cricket and Shubman Gill to start out on such a wonderful note," said Kumble.