Prithvi Shaw – ‘Sometimes you have to take a step back and then go forward’

Post date:



Don’t dwell on the past, but absorb lessons from it and keep moving forward. This, in a nutshell, is what Prithvi Shaw is trying to do to push himself back up the ladder for selection to the Indian team.
Shaw endured a poor IPL 2023, to the point that he lost his place at the top of the order midway through the season for Delhi Capitals. In all, he managed just 106 runs in eight innings. The ongoing Duleep Trophy is his first competitive outing since then and Shaw is looking to live by the mantra that the “next game is the most important game”.

“Those few innings [at the start of IPL 2023] went in a flash,” he said. “[While] I kept thinking about the first match, I quickly realised three matches had passed. The learning was once the match is done, just leave it there. You can’t do anything about it, it’s history. You have to keep moving forward.

“Whichever game I play – Duleep Trophy, a Mumbai [club] game, whichever game – it’s important for me to bring my best. I’m the kind of person who always puts the team first. I feel that sometimes you just have to take a step back and then go forward again. Things will come your way if you do the right things at the right time.”

Shaw last played for India in July 2021, and was most recently part of the squad during the home T20I series against New Zealand in January this year. He isn’t part of the white-ball squad for the West Indies tour and has seen both Ruturaj Gaikwad and his Mumbai team-mate Yashasvi Jaiswal leapfrog him for a place in India’s Test squad. Asked how he views where he stands, Shaw emphasised on the importance of focusing on his immediate tasks without carrying the anxiety or the pressure of performance.

“When I came back for the T20s against New Zealand, I didn’t get a chance [to play] but this is what life is,” he said. “Sometimes you get chances, sometimes you don’t. You have to accept it. It’s not like I’ll be sitting down there and thinking ‘why, why’. I mean, I do ask myself that question but at the end of the day, if you go there and perform well, do your fitness routines, score well, you’ll be there. I just try and be as positive as I can.”

That positivity, Shaw said, isn’t just part of his thought process but his game, too. He is clear while aggression is part of his batting DNA, he is learning to be “a little smarter than what I am” to try to bring consistency to his game.

“If things are not going my way, obviously I’ll try and not play how I’m supposed to play in those conditions,” Shaw said when asked about his approach in bowler-friendly conditions, like in Alur during the Duleep Trophy semi-final where he made 26 in the first innings and 25 in the second. “Personally I feel, I don’t have to change my game. I have to just be a little smarter than what I am.

“I try to play with the bowlers, do some things that are going to distract them and make them bowl here and there, and give me the balls that I want and not what they want to bowl. These are the things I look forward to when conditions are like this.

“I feel whatever has brought me till here, I will stick to that method, be the same. If I change right now for something, for example, I can’t bat like [Cheteshwar] Pujara sir. He can’t bat like me. I just try to do what has brought me here, everything god has given me, like this aggressive batting. I don’t like to change that, be it T20 or any format. The mindset is the same across formats, obviously I won’t go slashing if I shouldn’t in red-ball cricket, but mindset is to be aggressive.”

Shaw will have two more opportunities to impress in the Duleep Trophy final, against South Zone, starting July 12. After that, he could potentially feature for West Zone in the 50-over Deodhar Trophy followed by a maiden county stint with Northamptonshire in England. And he is looking forward to all of it.

“I’m expecting to be better than what I was last year,” Shaw said. “I just want to be a step ahead, be a better version of myself as a good batter, as an athlete and as a good person.”