Prithvi Shaw was dropped from the Indian Test team after an underwhelming performance in the pink-ball Test in Adelaide that saw his defence breached in both the innings. India were bowled out for 36 in the second innings – their lowest total in Tests but bounced back to win the series. However, Shaw came under a lot of criticism after his poor show Down Under and with that, his technique in challenging conditions too was questioned.
The stylish Mumbai batsman went into the Australian tour on the back of an under-par performance in the IPL 2020, where he managed just 228 at 17.53 runs from 13 innings. He did not have a particularly good outing in the practice matches too ahead of the Tests, notching up scores of 0, 19, 40 and 3 in the four innings.
Shaw, after one of the matches in the ongoing IPL, said that he had been working with his childhood coach and also Delhi Capitals batting coach Pravin Amre to rectify things like his bat lift and his initial movement.
In an exclusive interview, his childhood coach Prashant Shetty explains what aspect Shaw worked with him after returning from Australia.
“He ensured that his initial movements were a little early, which was a little late earlier. That was also because of bad form. When you’re going through bad form, your reaction is also a tad late. He concentrated on that more - in order to get into position early and if you observe, he has implemented that quite well now. The bat lift was not much of an issue, but there is still work to done. It was more to do with his initial movement,” Prashant said.
Prashant reckons that the talks about Shaw’s technique is uncalled for as it is the same technique that has fetched him tons of runs in his career. “My aim was to increase his confidence (After being dropped from Test side) since there was a lot of criticism over his technique, but they forget that it is this technique that has fetched him a lot runs over the years. I just wanted to assure him that there is nothing majorly wrong with your game you have played international level with the same bat lift and mindset. It was just bad form. He was looking forward to coming back (to India) and scoring big,” he said.
After making slight tweaks in his game, Shaw was more determined than ever to score a lot of runs in the domestic circuit, starting with the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2020-21. He piled up 827 runs at 165.40, strike-rate of 138.29 and scored four hundreds and a fifty in eight innings. To top it off, he scored an unbeaten 152-ball 227 in one of the matches against Puducherry.
Prashant said, his aim was not just to score a hundred, but he wanted to score daddy hundreds. His scores of 165 off 122, 185* off 123 & 105* off 89 to go with a double century are testament to the fact that he indeed kept his promise.
“The initial movements he practiced, he implemented them perfectly well in the Vijay Hazare trophy. He started getting behind the line of the ball more often and that actually helped him. He was not just determined to score a hundred, but wanted to get daddy hundreds,” Prashant said.
“We were pretty clear about what we wanted to accomplish and he went into the tournament with that mindset. He did not go into it to score runs, but he wanted to score big runs. Setback is part of life. He sees every ball as an opportunity to score runs and that’s the right approach, be it in Tests or white-ball cricket,” Shaw’s coach, who has been part of his journey since he was seven and a half years old, added.
A big IPL season awaits Shaw, who has so far scored a half-century and a 32 in three innings. If he can replicate his form from the Vijay Hazare Trophy, put his recent learnings into play every time, we could see him regain his place back in the Indian team sooner rather than later. The talent has always been there.