MUMBAI: If Prithvi Shaw has bounced back just a couple of months after being dropped from India’s Test team following his failure (0 & 4) in the first Test at Adelaide against Australia by slamming four hundreds (including a double hundred) in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, then the Mumbai selectors and coach deserve a pat on the back for this too.
Even though he was returning to the Mumbai team after struggling in Australia, Shaw was made the vice-captain of the team for the league stage of Vijay Hazare, and then the captain for the knockout stage. In the three games that Shaw has led Mumbai in, the 21-year-old’s scores have been: 227* (against Puducherry in the league stage), 185* (against Saurashtra) & 165 (off 122 balls), in the semis against Karnataka.
The responsibility of captaincy, it seems, is making him give off his best. “I have captained the India Under-19 team (to World Cup triumph), and also other teams in junior cricket. Whether I’m captaining the team or not, I always believe in giving more than 100% from my side. Leading Mumbai is an honour for me. I’m thankful and grateful to everyone including my teammates for bestowing their faith in me,” Shaw tells TOI.
“Captaining Mumbai has changed his approach going into matches dramatically. He wants to keep the team first. He wants to take his side through, and that’s what is making a huge difference in the end result. If you see, his hundreds are big ones. He’s not letting it go after getting set. He wants to spend time at the wicket, and doesn’t get carried away with his stroke-play. He takes responsibility for his actions on and off the field, and that helps him in a match situation. He wants to finish the game,” says Mumbai coach Ramesh Powar, a former India off-spinner.
“He’s looking after his teammates very well. He tried to build a bond in the team with a lot of conversations with youngsters. He knows that it’s important to play the senior leadership role, which involves mentoring youngsters. Since he has gone through a few bad patches, he wants to be there for young cricketers and help them out. It’s evident the way he approaches the practice sessions. After his batting practice, he helps out each and everyone who needs anything from him. It’s heartening to see this side of his. I really appreciate it. He even does the bowling drills with youngsters for around 90 minutes. bowls to youngsters. It’s a positive change in him. I hope he continues with this approach for a longer period of time. it might give him the edge doing forward,” says Powar.
Powar has observed that Shaw now looks determined to book his return ticket to Team India. “The important change that I’ve seen in Prithvi that I’ve seen is that he seems to be working on his mindset and the mental aspect of his batting. He knows exactly what’s needed to be done to rectify issues with his batting. You can see the determination to get back into the Indian team in his body language. He’s very much in his own league when it comes to batting technique. He’s very focused on his movements when he’s batting in the nets, so we don’t get into his technical thing. I hope he carries on like this,” says the Mumbai coach.