Prithvi Shaw has amassed as much as 754 runs for Mumbai in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy which included four centuries in seven innings at a staggering average of 188.50.
His runs, which have come at an astonishing strike rate of 134.88, include innings of 227*, 185*, and 165. On the way, Prithvi Shaw set a new record for most runs in a single Vijay Hazare season, passing Mayank Agarwal’s mark of 723 runs in 2017-18.
Prithvi Shaw Was In Tension When He Was Dropped After The 1st Test
These highs in Vijay Hazare Trophy have followed the bitterest of lows for Prithvi Shaw, who was dropped from India’s Test XI after failure, making 0 and 4 in the first Test of their tour of Australia, getting dismissed in a similar manner in both innings, bowled through the gap between bat and pad.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Prithvi Shaw recalled his experience in Australia, and his frame of mind after getting dropped, which swung between despair at his own hapless situation and happiness at the success of his team-mates, who went on to pull off a creditable come from behind 2-1 series win.
“I was in complete tension when I was dropped after the first Test,” Shaw said. “I got a feeling like I was worthless though I was happy that the team was doing well. I said to myself, ‘I need to pull up my socks’. There is a saying, ‘Hard work beats talent’. I told myself all this talent is fine but it’s of no use if I don’t work hard.”
“It was the saddest day of my life (when he was dropped). I went to my room and broke down. I felt like something wrong was happening. I needed answers quickly.”
A lot of experts pointed to Prithvi Shaw’s high, wide backlift as the reason for his problem with the incoming ball, but this backlift had been part of his technique all through his career, even when he was scoring heavily. The problem lay elsewhere which he realized when he worked with India coach Ravi Shastri and batting coach Vikram Rathour.
“Ravi sir and Vikram sir made me realize where I was going wrong,” Shaw said.
“I had to find a solution. Just go back to the nets and fix it. There were small mistakes that I was making. Those two innings made me look bad. My backlift was the same but my bat was coming down slightly away from my body. There was an issue with the initial movement. I was in a fixed position. I needed to keep my bat closer to my body, which I wasn’t doing.”
Prithvi Shaw was dismissed for 0, 19, 40, and 3 in the two warm-up games against Australia A. Questions about his form and foot movement were already doing the rounds and he, while opening in the Adelaide pink-ball Test, was out for 0 and 4. He was bowled between bat and pad in both innings, with Mitchell Starc and then Pat Cummins exposing tentative foot movement and his tendency to let the bat hang away from the body.
Prithvi Shaw Was Advised By Sachin Tendulkar Not To Make Too Many Changes
Prithvi Shaw reckons that the issue may have crept in because he went straight from the IPL in the UAE to the Test series in Australia. On his return to India, Sachin Tendulkar identified the same issue with his game.
“My mind was messed up. My bat was coming down from the gully area, but that’s how I have scored runs all my life,” he said.
“I met Sachin sir after I came back. He said don’t make too many changes and to just play as close to the body as I could. I was late on the ball. So during the entire Australia tour, I worked on that part. Maybe it was because I had gone to Australia after playing in Dubai (IPL).”
While Prithvi Shaw worked on his game at the nets, Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma settled in nicely at the top of the order as they have been India’s opening combination for their last six Test matches, including all four Tests of the home series against England. Prithvi Shaw wasn’t picked for the 4 Test England series, and he approached the Vijay Hazare Trophy with a single-minded desire for scoring a lot of runs.
“The other day I had back pain during the quarterfinals and our physio and team management asked me to return to the dressing room, I said ‘no’. They gave me a medicine and I continued batting. My focus was to remain unbeaten. I’m trying to handle situations better when I am batting.”
Prithvi Shaw says he won’t be satisfied until he’s back in the India team. Shubman Gill who took his place in Australia didn’t quite fire as expected against England.
“Even now I feel everything is not fine till I am back in the Indian team,” he said. “Whenever I get a chance, I want to grab it. I knew that I wouldn’t be getting a chance against England and I took it in my stride. It is me who has to be blamed.”
Devdutt Padikkal has also scored 737 runs in 7 matches averaging 147.4 with 4 tons in Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021 for Karnataka. R Samarth had scored 613 runs for Karnataka with 3 tons in this season as well.