Prithvi Shaw can’t seem to put a foot wrong right now. The 21-year-old has led Mumbai from the front, helping his team to the 2020-21 Vijay Hazare Trophy final by scoring a record 754 runs. With a game to go, the right-hander could swell that tally further still.
But it hasn’t been easy going for the young opener. Just a few months ago, Prithvi Shaw was the subject of intense criticism following his dismal performance in the pink-ball Test at Adelaide, where his technique against the moving ball was brutally exposed.
However, after scoring a match-winning 165 against Karnataka in the Vijay Hazare Trophy semi-final, Prithvi Shaw spoke of his pride in bouncing back in the face of adversity. He said to The Indian Express in this regard:
“I never give up easily. Mein Virar ka ladka hoon (I am a Virar boy). I have come from the streets. I know how to bounce back. I have always kept the team above me, be it club, Mumbai or India.”
His imperious exploits in the Vijay Hazare Trophy suggest Prithvi Shaw is back to his best. He has won games singlehandedly for Mumbai this season, bagging three scores over 160, one of them being a double hundred.
The opener has broken records galore in the Vijay Hazare Trophy this season, where he is averaging a stunning 188.5 after seven games. His runs have come at a good click, too, with Prithvi Shaw’s strike-rate of 134.88 being the best among batsman with more than 350 runs this season.
“If you want me to score 1 run in 100 balls, then I can try, but that’s not me. That’s not my game. I can’t play like that. I have never been in such a situation like I was in Australia, but I have worked hard now, spent hours and hours in the nets to rectify it.”
Prithvi Shaw spoke about how he managed to turn things around after getting dropped from the team following his struggles Down Under. He said in this regard:
"Once you are dropped from the team, there is pressure to perform and make a comeback. I am keen to get runs. I wanted to get big-daddy runs. I’m trying to handle situations better when I am batting."
Explaining how his mentality changed since lasting only six balls in Australia, Prithvi Shaw divulged how he played through the pain barrier against Saurashtra; the Mumbai captain scored an unbeaten 185 in a chase of 285 in that game.
“The other day, I had back pain during the quarter-finals, and our physio and team management asked me to return to the dressing room. I said ‘no’. They gave me medicine, and I continued batting. My focus was to remain unbeaten,” said Prithvi Shaw.
Prithvi Shaw opens up about his struggles in Australia
To say Prithvi Shaw was in the line of fire after the Adelaide Test would be an understatement. The opener got out in a similar fashion in both innings, struggling to cope with deliveries coming back in, getting bowled twice.
With Shubman Gill replacing him in the next Test, Prithvi Shaw became the subject of intense criticism. The constant trolling on social media didn't help either. Prithvi Shaw admits all the talk about his flawed batting technique and the bevy of suggestions to rectify the same left him bewildered.
“I was a bit confused. I was asking myself what was happening? Is there a problem with my batting? What is the problem? To pacify myself, I told myself it was a pink-ball game against one of the finest bowling attacks in the world. The question was why was I getting bowled (Mitchell Starc in the first innings and Pat Cummins in the second). I was down for sure. I stood in front of the mirror and said to myself ‘I am not as bad a player as everyone is saying I am,” said Prithvi Shaw.
Judging by his domestic exploits, Prithvi Shaw seems to have overcome the demons that plagued him in Australia. Whether he gets another chance to prove his mettle remains to be seen, though.