Prithvi Shaw can change India's fortunes in T20 world cup

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Prithvi Shaw is one of the most explosive batters in the T20 format.

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Prithvi Shaw can change India's fortunes in T20 world cup

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Kunal Joshi

06/19/2022

Prithvi Shaw is one of the finest batters when it comes to batting in the powerplay in the T20 format. Yet, he fails to find a place in the Indian team but, with the T20 world cup just a few months away will the Indian team management show faith in the Shaw and take him to Australia?

Cricket is evolving at a fast pace since the inception of the T20 format. Previous generations were used to watching the classic format of Test cricket which still remains hugely popular amongst purists. This was followed by One Day Internationals which was introduced in the 70s and became an instant hit and now the format has a rich history that many ardent cricket fans can relate to. The most relatable thing about the format for Indian fans is the 1983 world cup which under Kapil dev's leadership India managed to win by beating West Indies who were the undisputed champions in those days. This victory became a symbolic moment in Indian cricket after which people started watching the sport religiously. 

The ODI format became a massive hit in the country but it took 28 years for India to get their hands on one of the most sought-after trophies in cricket. It was only in 2011 under MS Dhoni's leadership that India won their second world cup title. The whole nation celebrated the win and MS Dhoni is hailed as one of the best captains in the history of the game because of it. But, prior to that something else had also happened which opened an entirely new world in Indian cricket. This was back in 2007 when the inaugural edition of the T20 world cup was announced. Cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid had opted out of the tournament which led to the selectors appointing MS Dhoni as captain. The Indian team went on to win the inaugural edition of the T20 world cup and fans in India fell in love with the format. However, 15 years on, India has not managed to repeat what it did in 2007. 

The T20 format has changed rapidly over the years and it seems like India is playing catch-up. However, there is one batter who has the game that is best suited for this format and can change India's fortunes in T20 cricket forever and that is Prithvi Shaw. The young batter is one of the most explosive opening batters in the world and anybody who has watched Virender Sehwag bat will know that Shaw possesses the same kind of skill set. He can instill fear in the minds of the bowlers and can give India the start that they need at the top of the order. The right-handed batter has only played one T20I in his international career but that's something that can work in India's favour.

Prithvi Shaw has been playing in the IPL since 2018 for the Delhi Capitals. The 22-year-old batter has featured in 63 games so far and has managed to score 1,588 runs with an average of 25.21. The most interesting thing here is his strike rate which stands at 147.45 which is massive from India's perspective.

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Yes, it's true that the other teams can watch IPL games and figure out ways to dismiss him. But to execute those plans in a high-pressure tournament like the T20 world cup will not be easy. Shaw is a natural striker of the cricket ball and can take advantage of the powerplay overs if he gets going and his strike rate only proves this point further. 

A batter like Prithvi Shaw has the x-factor that is very rare to find. The Indian team management should realise that having a player like Shaw is rare and he should be backed to bat in a fearless manner which can derail the plan of their opponents. Shaw's approach can also allow other batters who bat in the middle overs to take some time and as they will not have the pressure of the run-rate hovering over their head. India's batting in the powerplay was a big cause of concern during the T20 world cup in 2021 and if they make Shaw open the innings then it is highly likely that they will not be repeating the mistakes they made last time around. 

If we look at the current top-order that comprises heavyweights like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul many people will feel that these three can't be replaced. But here's the thing, all three batters bat in a similar fashion. Rohit, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli take some time before they settle in which means they don't score as quickly as Prithvi Shaw. The problem with their style of batting is that if they get out then it puts a lot of pressure on the batters that follow.

When you compare their strike rate with Prithvi Shaw, it is significantly lower even if you just take their IPL career for comparison. Barring KL Rahul, neither Virat Kohli nor Rohit Sharma have managed to touch the 140-mark when it comes to the strike rate in the cash-rich league. 

Prithvi Shaw is still young as he is just 22 years old and the team management has often thought the same and ignored the young batter. They probably believe that Shaw has a lot of time on his hands and can be brought to the Indian team probably after the Rohit Sharma era. But the problem here is the fact that India needs an explosive opening batter who can clear the boundary ropes from ball one in T20Is. So, in my opinion, the team management should think hard about what combination are they going to go with when they leave for Australia. I say this because we have seen what happened last year in the T20 world cup, and it looks like this year also, India might be playing with almost the same team and this can be a disaster for them. So, I feel Prithvi Shaw should be considered for the T20 world cup that is set to take place in Australia.

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