Can Prithvi Shaw make it big in International cricket?

Prithvi Shaw has made a name for himself in the Indian Cricket Team with his powerful performances and unique achievements in the cricketing field. His short career with the Indian team has already seen some highs as well as lows. However, the talented Mumbai batter is one for the future.

Shaw led the Indian U-19 side to lift the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup in 2018. The team coached by Rahul Dravid impressed everyone with the likes of Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill, and Kamlesh Nagarkoti.

Soon after Shaw got a callup in the Indian Test side playing West Indies at home. Shaw was given a debut for India in tests during the first test at Rajkot. He did not miss the opportunity and scored a century on his debut. Shaw became the 15th Indian Batsman to score a test century on his debut and the youngest of them all to do so.

He was 18 years 229 days old when he achieved a remarkable feat and joined the likes of Virender Sehwag, Saurav Ganguly, Suresh Raina, and Rohit Sharma among others. He also became the second-youngest after Sachin Tendulkar to score a Test ton for India. Tendulkar was 17 years 107 days when he scored his first ton for India.

When he next played a Test for India – the D/N game in Adelaide on the tour of Australia – Shaw was out bowled in either innings for 0 and 4 and was left out of the side for the next three Test matches.

It was visible, though, that he has put some work on refining his technique as Shaw’s back leg was now in a much better position, no longer going to the right of the leg stump and reducing his off-side reach. He was now better balanced to counter the bouncers aimed at his body too.

On that tour of Australia, Shaw worked extensively with the Indian team support staff on tightening up his game. The fact that he wasn’t retained in the squad for the England series means the selectors and the management probably felt he was better off playing domestically than warming the benches. Once back, Shaw has done what every good batsman sets out to do: score big runs consistently.

Shaw slipped somewhere down the line. He even served a ban for consuming a banned substance. A leg injury kept him out of the series in Australia in 2018-19. But what turned out be a concern for the game’s analysts and coaches was the technical inadequacy that he was not able to address against genuine fast bowlers. He was dropped after the first Test at the Adelaide Oval, where India was shot out for 36.

Clearly Shaw has shown the resolve, spending time with India’s former head coach Ravi Shastri and batting coach Vikram Rathour in Australia and with Praveen Amre in Mumbai, to work on a few glitches in his technique.

He was not in full flow in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 tournament, but won the Vijay Hazare Trophy Trophy single-handedly for Mumbai with a strong performance right through the limited-overs tournament. He amassed 827 runs with four centuries in the tournament.

If Shaw can follow his run in the Vijay Hazare Trophy with a big IPL 2021 for Delhi Capitals (DC), he’ll once again be posing the selectors a major headache. Ultimately, though, the selectors will think whether he can maintain his success internationally? It’ll boil down to how India can get the best out of him?

Is Test cricket, with its bowler-friendly surfaces and opposition attacks deeper than ever, a challenge beyond Shaw’s reach? And whether he is better off playing only the white-ball game where he can manage around his weaknesses more competently?

These are all questions the selectors will need to ask themselves before they reconsider Prithvi Shaw to wear the Indian jersey.

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