Prithvi Shaw, who is currently on a rampage in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, opened up on his struggles in Australia and revealed that he broke down and endured sleepless nights after being dropped after a horror showing in Adelaide. Shaw revealed that he felt ‘worthless’ the night he was axed.
Prithvi Shaw is currently in the spotlight for having set an all-time record in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy, but things were starkly different - and dark - two months ago. Coming on the back of an underwhelming IPL, Shaw was humiliated by the Australian bowlers in the first Test in Adelaide, where he posted scores of 0 and 4. There, on both occasions, the 21-year-old was bowled through the gate, and so after looking like a walking wicket, the right-hander was subsequently axed for the rest of the series.
He has since recovered from the slump, but the window before the start of the Boxing Day Test was a time when the youngster’s talent, technique, skill and temperament was questioned. Recollecting the dark period, Shaw revealed that it was a phase where he felt worthless and could not do anything but break down in front of the mirror.
“I was in complete tension when I was dropped after the first Test. I got a feeling like I was worthless though I was happy that the team was doing well,” Shaw told The Indian Express.
“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 2nd). 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’.
“I said to myself ‘I need to pull up my socks’. There is a saying, ‘hard work beats talent’. I told myself all this talent is fine but it’s of no use if I don’t work hard. It was the saddest day of my life (when he was dropped). I went to my room and broke down. I felt like something wrong was happening. I needed answers quickly.”
Shaw did not get an opportunity to bat after Adelaide, and that was primarily due to the fact that he looked like a walking duck against the incoming delivery. Twice in the first Test he was done by an inducker and in the warm-up game prior to Adelaide, too, the 21-year-old was castled by a sharp inswinger by Victoria’s Will Sutherland. Shaw revealed that after Adelaide, the trio of him, head coach Ravi Shastri and batting coach Vikram Rathour were quick to figure out what exactly was going wrong with him.
“Ravi (Shastri) Sir and Vikram (Rathour) Sir made me realise where I was going wrong. I had to find a solution. Just go back to the nets and fix it. There were small mistakes that I was making. Those two innings (Adelaide, pink-ball Test) made me look bad. My back lift was the same but my bat was coming down slightly away from my body. There was an issue with the initial movement. I was in a fixed position. I needed to keep my bat closer to my body, which I wasn’t doing.”
Whether the technical tweak will help the youngster thrive again in red-ball cricket remains to be seen, but, since returning from Australia, the 21-year-old has been in beast mode in coloured clothing, having struck a ludicrous 754 in 7 innings (average 188.50 and SR 134.88) in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Shaw revealed that upon returning, he had a solitary aim, which was to get ‘daddy runs’.
“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. The other day I had a back pain during the quarterfinals and our physio and team management asked me to return to the dressing room, I said ‘no’. They gave me a medicine and I continued batting. My focus was to remain unbeaten. I’m trying to handle situations better when I am batting.”
Shaw admitted that he is the person who is to be blamed for his downfall, but insisted that, despite getting back in the runs for Mumbai, he will not be satisfied until he gets back into the Indian side.
“I wasn’t expecting anything. Even now I feel everything is not fine till I am back in the Indian team. Whenever I get a chance, I want to grab it. I knew that I wouldn’t be getting a chance against England and I took it in my stride. It is me who has to be blamed.”