Prithvi Shaw fails again in Adelaide Test: ‘Better for him if he is taken out of the team,’ says Nick Knight
When Prithvi Shaw made his Test debut at Rajkot against West Indies in the October of 2018, he was considered the next big thing of Indian batting. Hailing from Mumbai, Shaw had made a name for himself in age-group cricket and followed it up with an impressive debut season in domestic cricket.
Captaining the Indian team to victory in the U-19 World Cup catapulted him to stardom and he repaid the faith shown in him by scoring a century on debut against the Windies. Scores of 70 and 33* followed in the next Test of the series and Shaw was the big hope for the 2018 tour of Australia.
But as luck would have it, the young sensation injured his ankle in a tour match and his spot at the top of the order was taken by Mayank Agarwal, who has since gone from strength to strength in whites for India.
A drug-related ban followed for Shaw in 2019, until he made his way back into the Test team earlier this year on the tour of New Zealand as Rohit Sharma was injured. The two-match series turned out to be a graveyard for India’s batsmen but Shaw held his own with one half century and a couple of starts.
Covid-19 meant India played their next Test on December 17, as they batted first against Australia in the day-night Test. Shaw was back at the place where it all had gone wrong for him two years ago and had an opportunity to resurrect his Test career.
But his first innings lasted just two balls and as he edged a delivery from Mitchell Starc back to his stumps for a duck. He was expected to answer his critics in the second innings as India took a 53-run lead and the openers needed to survive 8 overs.
He got off the mark this time but was cleaned up by Pat Cummins on his fourth delivery, sent back after scoring 4 runs. There is a clear technical issue with the way he bats and cricket pundits are of the opinion that he needs to sort his game before making his way back to international cricket.
“It’s a real concern. You see the first innings dismissal .... the backlift is coming from the second or third slip. These guys (Australian pacers) are too good. You are talking about the best bowlers and they are not going to let Prithvi Shaw get away with that backlift,” former England opener Nick Knight said after the close of the second day’s play on Extraaa Innings, studio show for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test series on Sony Six channels.
“I don’t see him being able to make those changes over the next four or five days or whatever it might be before the next game. Mentally what sort of a shape he is in? I don’t think he will be able to play in the second Test,” he added.
Knight further said that when a player has proved himself at the international stage it is fine to give him a long rope and try him for a few matches. But he thinks Shaw’s technique needs a lot of work and he shouldn’t play the next Test.
“He has got a great record coming into this Test match, I think he averaged 55 before this series started. He has had two failures here. When you are out of form it is a different story in selection because you are backing a player with credit in the bank...But I think in this instance with those technical frailties and with Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood coming at you, I don’t see him playing in the next Test match,” he added.
Former India pace great Zaheer Khan too was of the opinion that Shaw might find it difficult to get selected for the next Test. He said that in international cricket bowlers are always looking to find a batsman out and Prithvi Shaw’s weaknesses have been found out.
Knight further added that sometimes it is good for a player to be taken away from international cricket so that he can come back after making adjustments and that would be the best thing for Shaw too.
“Sometimes when you reflect on your career, there are moments in which at that time you might feel it is against you but it actually works for you because you are taken out of a difficult situation and it’s actually a bit of relief for you when you look back at it. This might be one of those occasions, it is actually better for him if he is taken out of the team so that he can work on his technical deficiencies,” Knight said.
The 1st Test of the Border - Gavaskar Trophy is currently being broadcast only on Sony Six, Sony Ten 1 and Sony Ten 3 channels 8 30 am onwards