Can this be Prithvi Shaw’s season….finally?

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The ultra-minute microscope of cricket enthusiasts, understandably, queries “Can he do that against quality bowlers in testing conditions?”, especially when a T20 dasher plays a quick-fire knock. The same question stands for Prithvi Shaw’s knock of 72 runs off just 38 balls against CSK in the second game of the IPL 2021.

Prithvi Shaw against CSK in Wankhede:

CSK’s bowling attack is indeed quite poor for a standard Wankhede surface. The lack of powerplay wickets and the dew impacted it even more. Shaw took full toll off CSK’s attack on a batting paradise. 

Shaw’s past record against Deepak Chahar inspired very little confidence. Chahar, a swing bowler, is obviously like to trouble a batsman like Shaw with the new-nut. But, Shaw tackled the medium-pacer well this time around.  The opening batsman didn’t go for runs against full-length and good-length deliveries but thrived on back-of-length balls.

IPL 2021: CSK vs DC -- Deepak Chahar vs Prithvi Shaw | Credit: iplt20.com

IPL 2021: CSK vs DC — Deepak Chahar vs Prithvi Shaw | Credit: iplt20.com

Shaw is an ‘intent machine’ but he tried to manage his shape and position in this knock against pacers. He faced 25 balls against pacers in this innings but played just two false shots, apart from the mistimed one on his wicket ball.

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Brain Lara also explained the change in Shaw’s technique on Select Dugout. Regarding Shaw’s dismissals vs pace in 2020, Lara observed that there was a lack of feet movement and a gap between his bat and pad while playing horizontal bat shots like punches. 

However, in this knock his feet movement was better, he went closer to the ball and reduced the gap between his bat and pad. It might not be perfect yet but the progress is praise-worthy. 

In the post-match presentation, Shaw told that he worked with DC’s assistant coach Pravin Amre before the Vijay Hazare Tournament. He also acknowledged the further scope of improvement and spoke that he is working hard.

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Against spinners, Shaw was a bit lucky but he ensured that they don’t get a leeway. He took charge against bad balls, particularly against the fuller and shorter balls by Moeen Ali. 

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While some went ‘aww’ for his knock, some still remember those two dropped catches and his past struggles. But it was a thrilling knock overall. His short-arm jab six against Chahar displayed his power whereas his classy strokes against Thakur displayed his elegance.

IPL 2021: CSK vs DC -- Prithvi Shaw - Wagon Wheel | Credits: iplt20.com

IPL 2021: CSK vs DC — Prithvi Shaw – Wagon Wheel | Credit: iplt20.com

Coming back to the question “Can he do it against quality bowlers in testing conditions?”

The desire is quite understandable, after all, that’s what separates the bests from the rests. 

But being a dangerous batsman against substandard bowlers in modern-day limited-overs cricket on good batting surfaces shouldn’t be under-estimated. You can have one or two such high-impact players in the batting line-up depending on various factors as batting unit composition and the home venue. 

Not to forget, Shaw is just 21-years old, he has plenty of time to develop. And, it’s not the case as if he is extremely bad against high-quality bowling; Shaw is decent for his age. 

The attacking batsman brings the X-factor of being a quick-starter against the new ball. The experienced players being mediocre against quality bowlers deserve a fair bit of criticism but such youngsters are worth a shot.

What lies ahead for Prithvi Shaw in IPL 2021?

Despite his unconcealed batting ability in white-ball cricket, Shaw hadn’t enjoyed enough success in his past three IPL seasons. His returns became worse season by season. Shaw averaged 27 in IPL 2018, 22 in 2019 and 17 in 2020. His strike rate of over 150 made up for the youngster in his debut IPL season but not in the next two seasons.

The main issue with Shaw in those seasons was his continuous string of low scores. He can’t perform the Sunil Narine role, his team can’t afford that nor can he. 

In his first five IPL games in 2018, Shaw registered two 60+ scores along with a nice 25-ball 47 against Rajasthan Royals. But, in the last four innings of the season, he failed.

Shaw played an excellent knock, making 99 in the third match of IPL 2019 but then again he couldn’t get starts or utilise them for the rest of the season except for two knocks.

Shaw continued the trend and started well in 2020 as well! He notched up two 60+ scores, along with an excellent 23-ball 42 against RCB, in the first five innings of the season. However, his best innings score in the other eight innings was just 19!

The 21-year-old hasn’t cracked the IPL yet. Yes, not even after his match-winning knock against CSK yesterday. To stamp his authority in the best T20 league, he would need to avoid those continuous failures. He should try getting more starts and building on those starts. 

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Better bowling attacks will test Shaw with short-balls and top-class away-turning bowling. But progress and the right mindset should help.

Delhi Capitals have two upcoming games in Mumbai and five in Kolkata in their last leg of the league stage. DC have just two matches in Chennai while the rest four in Ahemdabad. The nature of the Ahemdabad games depends upon the strip they choose but Shaw needs to make the most of the opportunity even if the decks aren’t flat.

Shreyas Iyer is out of the IPL and there is no better time for Shaw to stand tall for his side – throughout the tourney!



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