India will soon commence their limited overs series in Sri Lanka and one of the players to watch out for during the ODI and T20I bilateral would be the swashbuckling opener Prithvi Shaw. Shaw has experienced a real roller-coaster ride in his cricketing journey so far and former India coach Anshuman Gaekwad stressed the need for the talented opening batsman to stay grounded in Sri Lanka.
Shaw produced a Player of the Match performance on his Test debut against the West Indies in Rajkot hammering a brilliant 134 off just 154 deliveries in Rajkot in 2018. Just when India thought they had unearthed a world-class batsman, Shaw faced some disciplinary issues and his form dipped in the latter half of the 2020 IPL in the UAE. He was then dropped after a poor performance in the Adelaide Test and went through the toughest phase in his professional life during that period.
Gaekwad pointed out that it could be a touch of over-confidence which led to the downfall of Shaw towards the latter half of 2020. He added that the Sri Lanka tour will be very crucial for the destructive opener and stressed the need for him to stay grounded.
“It’s going to be very important for him. He’s a brilliant player, who’s got a lot of runs. He started off with flying colours. We thought ‘here is a boy who had come here to stay’. But then he lost it. And why did he lose it? It could be confidence, it could be overconfidence, or arrogance. These are the reasons for which a player has a downfall. Being grounded is very, very important. I’ve seen the greatest of players - talk about Tendulkar, Dravid, Vishwanath. They were all grounded, and never put their collars up or said ‘I’m so and so’," stated Gaekwad.
Gaekwad added that Shaw has some learnings to do and can improve his mental and physical game by observing and watching other players and former greats.
“All these guys played for long - Laxman, Sourav, Azhar. All of them. Of course, being young these things happen but I’m sure he’s learnt his lesson. He has to grow up, and I’m sure he has. Some players probably improve from the experience of watching others, while some want to do it themselves. They want to experience it themselves, and then improve, so I hope he has learnt his lesson. Also, the thing with him is that he’s got time with him. He’s got tremendous potential and promise, so the sky’s the limit."
Shaw worked on his technical weaknesses and other aspects of his batting and made a tremendous return scoring a record 827 runs in the 2021 Vijay Hazare Trophy. He was in brilliant form in the 2021 IPL as well aggregating 308 runs in 8 matches at a stunning strike rate of 166.48.