An under-fire and out of form Prithvi Shaw put out a motivational message on Instagram even as he faces questions over his technique, lack of runs and position in the Indian team.
Shaw has been under severe criticism after managing only 0 and 4 in the two innings at Adelaide, his first Test in Australia. Shaw was chosen over Shubman Gill but his twin failures might force India to rethink their combination at the top of the order.
Shaw, meanwhile, posted: “If sometimes people demotivate you for something you try to do, that means you can do that but they can’t."
More than the lack of runs, Shaw’s technical issues have been a cause of worry for the batsman and the Indian team. He was bowled through the gate (gap between bat and pad) in both innings, by Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins respectively.
Legendary batsmen Sunil Gavaskar and Ricky Ponting, who coached Shaw in Delhi Capitals in the IPL, were among the ones to call for Rohit Sharma to come in for Shaw.
“He (Rohit) will definitely play. He is a better Test player than Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw. If he is fit then he will straightaway slot at the top of the order," said Ponting while speaking on Channel 7.
Gavaskar had been critical of the technique of the India openers saying that they were approaching the new ball with hard hands.
“You can see he (Shaw) was pushing at the deliveries (in warm-ups), playing with hard hands and that has been his major problem," said Gavaskar. “Even in this Test, there was such a big gap between bat and pad. It was just the second delivery of the game (first innings dismissal). You want to make sure that you are playing with soft hands and as late as possible.
“The whole idea in Test match cricket is not to go there (take the bat far from the body) because then you are leaving a gap between bat and pad, allowing for late movement to get an inside edge or sneak between bat and pad. The trick is to play as close to the pad as possible… you can play shots later but at the start you can’t leave the gap."
“You can see on the left of the screen, the first innings dismissal where Mitchell Starc is bringing one back through the gate. You can see he’s trying to make a slight adjustment in the second innings, the gap is not that big. But the problem and the worry is that the frontfoot is not planted. It’s still in the air, he’s late on the ball, he’s late moving his weight into the ball. If he actually gets a full stride forward there, that eliminates the gap between bat and pad," Ponting had said on Channel 7.
The right-handed batsman had failed to get a fifty in both the warm-up games prior to the first Test, making just 62 in four innings at an average of 15.5, prompting both Border and Gavaskar to say that with a loose technique he shouldn’t be playing the first Test. Border had, in fact, said that he plays too many shots outside his off-stump.
Shaw has been failing consistently over the past couple of months and was even dropped from the Delhi Capitals (DC) side at one point during the Indian Premier League (IPL). In his last seven innings for DC, he got three ducks and managed just one double digit score which was only 10. His aggregate was just 30 in those seven innings on slower, subcontinental-like surfaces.
The Mumbai batsman also had an ordinary outing in New Zealand in February making 16, 14, 54 and 14 across two Tests in the last Test series played by India before this.