May it be for Delhi Capitals in the IPL or Mumbai in domestic circuit, an on-song Shaw can be a pain for the opposition and the rate at which he scores runs can deflate any bowling attack.
The last time Prithvi Shaw played a T20I for India, his only appearance till date, Shikhar Dhawan was leading the side, Suryakumar Yadav was doing Suryakumar Yadav things, Krunal Pandya featured in the XI and the pair of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Deepak Chahar made the new ball talk. It was the three-T20I series vs Sri Lanka which is mostly remembered for the COVID-19 outbreak in the Indian camp. The situation during the series was such that there was a challenge to put together a Playing XI and someone like Bhuvi came out to bat at No.6 in the third fixture.
In over 550 days, a lot has changed in the cricketing ecosystem in the country. Rahul Dravid, the stand-in coach in 2021, is now the full-time coach, Rohit Sharma is the captain across formats and Shikhar Dhawan, the captain during the 2021 tour, is no longer part of the white-ball set-up. For, Shaw too it’s been a rollercoaster ride of sorts away from the Indian dressing room. The 23-year-old turned up for his state Mumbai in the domestic competitions during this duration and kept scoring runs and tons for fun. Knock by knock, the calls for Shaw’s inclusion back in the set-up only grew louder and the moment finally came when he left the selectors with no choice.
The big daddy knock, enough to earn his slot back in the Indian team, came against Assam in the Ranji Trophy this season. The 379-run knock broke plenty of records and finally reopened the door to the Indian dressing room as he was picked for the three-T20I series vs New Zealand. Social media celebrated his return to the squad like there was no tomorrow but for Shaw it seemed like just another day at work as he prepped to take on Delhi in the Ranji Trophy contest earlier this month.
His walk from the makeshift photo booth of the broadcaster to the pavilion at the Arun Jaitley Stadium was of a man riding high on confidence, and form. He would begin the innings on that note and looked supremely impressive during a 40-run knock before an incoming delivery, and a debatable decision ended the breezy outing. The right-hander stood in disbelief but had to make the long walk back early in the first innings. Till the time he was out there, batting looked ridiculously easy on a spicy pitch, at least for the first session, but it was a different story moment he was dismissed.
This has been his impact wherever and whenever he has played. May it be for Delhi Capitals in the IPL or Mumbai in the domestic circuit, an on-song Shaw can be a pain for the opposition, and the rate at which he scores runs can deflate any bowling attack. The red-ball knock sealed the selection deal for him but his consistency across formats was making it increasingly difficult for the selectors to keep him waiting in the wings. The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2022 was a good one for the pocket dynamo as he amassed 332 runs in 10 games at a brutal strike rate of 181.42.
The wait to get longer
Shaw’s long wait to be back in the Indian XI is all set to get longer as captain Hardik Pandya, during the pre-match presser, confirmed that Shubman Gill will start the series. Gill has been in phenomenal touch this year and is yet to put a foot wrong. The classy right-hander was preferred in the Sri Lanka T20Is too and is set to get a longer rope at top of the order.
“Shubman Gill has done well and will start the series. The way he is batting, he was already in the team,” Pandya said on Thursday.
Ruturaj Gaikwad, the other opener in the reserves, has been injured and will not take part in the upcoming series vs the Black Caps. This fairly improves Shaw’s chances of getting game time at some point in the series. If he does, the youngster would hope to cement his place in the Indian set-up and replicate his domestic heroics in the international arena.
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