He made this disclosure during a discussion on Prithvi Shaw's indifferent returns with the bat on the Sony Sports network.
Mohammad Kaif was asked if Prithvi Shaw's limited foot movement is more to do with his fitness rather than his technique. He responded technique is surely required to play the moving ball delivered at an express pace.
"Your technique definitely helps you to play the good balls. You don't get to play the moving balls in India which Prithvi Shaw is facing from Starc or Cummins. They are the world's best bowlers who bowl at a speed of 145 kph."
Kaif added it was the first time Prithvi Shaw played a day-night Test match and was expected to have a tough time.
"This was the first time Shaw has played a pink-ball Test match and it is on Australian soil. So that difficulty was bound to come."
Mohammad Kaif on his advice to Prithvi Shaw during the IPL
Mohammad Kaif disclosed that he had a one-on-one discussion with Prithvi Shaw during the IPL on the fitness front. The Delhi Capitals assistant coach added that he generally allows the players to be on their own.
"Coming to fitness, when the IPL final happened I had taken him aside. I am such a coach who does not disturb the player much, we also get evolved along with the player's planning and thinking."
"When you are scoring runs, you can spend less time at the net, take breaks and do your recovery. But when a player is out of form, he is not scoring runs, then whether he is Sachin or Dravid, we all spend extra time in the nets and make the nets difficult."
The former gun fielder revealed he asked Prithvi Shaw to lay more emphasis on fitness and training along with his game to sharpen his mental skills.
"You play against the new ball, call the bowlers to bowl to you at the nets. I told Prithvi Shaw that when you pay attention to your fitness, take extra catches, do the extra batting, running and do training in the gym, you also train your mind."
Kaif also gave his own example, where his mental fortitude and fighting instinct helped him play a match-winning knock in the NatWest Trophy final despite his technical shortcomings.
"I will give my own example of the NatWest Trophy. I was not that strong technically but I had the mental strength and belief that I will fight and play out the spell. So there is a connection with training."
Mohammad Kaif signed off by citing Virat Kohli as the biggest example of a player who has grown by leaps and bounds after laying more emphasis on his fitness.
"Virat Kohli is the biggest example of that. You train your mind with the fitness work you do. When you are in a difficult phase, when you are out of form, apart from technique if you are mentally strong it helps you to come out of that phase."
Prithvi Shaw has been going through an extended lean patch which started with IPL 2020. Apart from his technical deficiencies, a lot of criticism has come his way for his supposedly lackadaisical attitude.
The 21-year old will be well-advised to put in the extra yards both on the technical and fitness fronts. If he doesn't, a promising career could get nipped in the bud.
Published 20 Dec 2020, 17:48 IST