Talent vs Misfortune: The Prithvi Shaw saga

image-l9886daqPrithvi Shaw (Source: Twitter)

Mumbai is renowned as the hub of legendary batters in Indian cricketing circuit. From Sunil Gavaskar to Sachin Tendulkar, Mumbai batters have always graced the Indian dressing room. 

Prithvi Shaw, the latest addition to this list, has just amassed a splendid 61-ball 134 in the ongoing Group A encounter against Assam in the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy. With this knock, the nonchalant stroke-maker has presented a strong case for his inclusion into the Indian white-ball team. 

What led to Shaw's debacle? 

Regarded as the next big thing in Indian cricket, Shaw gained limelight after he smashed all record books by hammering a mammoth 546-run knock in the Harris Shield encounter way back in 2013. He added another feather to his crown by leading the Indian under19 team to a World Cup title in 2018. His consistency eventually earned him a Test call-up, and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands by slamming his maiden ton in his very first innings. 

But soon, his destiny started behaving like his stepmother to the youngster. Initially, the Kiwi bowling unit figured out his issues against the moving ball during India's tour of New Zealand in 2020. Then, his continuous struggle against the incoming deliveries in Australia led to his ouster from the national Test team in 2021

To his misfortune, he has never been recalled since then. 

The rise from the ashes

But does Shaw fall prey to the incoming balls these days? No, absolutely not. 

From what I have seen, the 22-year-old evolved his technique against the incoming deliveries to a great extent immediately after he was dropped from the Test team. 

He started shuffling to cover the line and playing with a straight bat, which worked wonders for him. His hard work in the nets paid rich dividends, as he went on to score 479 runs at a magnificent strike rate of 159.14 in the IPL 2021. 

More importantly, his average against the right-arm seam bowlers rose from a horrible 11.3 in IPL 2020 to an extraordinary 58 in IPL 2021, indicating his massive success in neutralising his nemesis. 

Then, why hasn't Shaw been given a consistent run?

An obvious answer to this question is the traffic India have in their top-order. Apart from Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, the presence of Shubham Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ishan Kishan has made it incredibly tough for Shaw to storm his way back into the team. 

Additionally, his fitness has always been under scrutiny and has played a significant role in keeping him out of the national side despite his consistent returns with the bat. 

Will Shaw's stars shine soon? 

Assuming this T20 World Cup will be the final hurrah for the legendary Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, we expect India to have a vacancy at the top for Shaw after the mega event. 

Looking at how he capitalises on the field restrictions, I bet India won't be disappointed if they trust Shaw for the aggressor's role, at least in their T20I team. So, no matter how dark it gets, the sun will rise again. 

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