regular-article-logo Friday, 22 September 2023

Charge of the young and fearless brigade

Prithvi Shaw and Devdutt Padikkal stake claim with stupendous performances

Sayak Banerjee Calcutta Published 16.03.21, 02:28 AM
Virat Kohli.

Virat Kohli. File picture

The young brigade has played a significant role in shaping India’s cricketing fortunes since the tour Down Under. They haven’t shied away from challenges and have led from the front when the chips seemed to be down.

Their contributions culminated in massive victories against Australia and England with Virat Kohli’s side reaching the World Test Championship final. If Rishabh Pant and Axar Patel were stupendous with the bat and ball in the last few months, it seems to have rubbed off well on the others too.


Young Ishan Kishan made everyone sit up and take notice on his international debut in the second T20I versus England on Sunday.

Back in the domestic circuit, Prithvi Shaw and Devdutt Padikkal took centrestage by plundering runs in the recently concluded Vijay Hazare Trophy. Shaw’s exploits — a record 827 runs — was pivotal in Mumbai’s emphatic title triumph, while Padikkal (737 runs) too played a key role in Karnataka making the last-four stage of the competition. What Shaw and Padikkal’s performances did was make the job of the national selectors tougher.

Shaw’s batting prowess is, of course, known to most, especially when he started his international career with a century on Test debut in late 2018. But he fell off the radar due to his injuries and poor shot selection.

Doubts were also raised over his technique, particularly against the ball that darted in, and he could make just one Test appearance in Australia. But in the national one-dayers, he looked far more solid, unleashing some mind-blowing shots.

So what really turned it around for Shaw? “We analysed which areas to work on and Prithvi was also open to working on those for improvement,” said Delhi Capitals assistant coach Pravin Amre about the five-day training camp in Mumbai, which the franchise had organised, just before the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

“Once you play with the full face of the bat, you always score. That was the area we tried to focus on during those five days; how he would meet the ball with the full face and feel more confident. Once he did that, he was able to get those big hundreds,” Amre stated.

Being “mentally very focused” was another change noticed in Shaw, pointed out Mumbai coach Ramesh Powar. “He was enjoying his time with the team and spending a lot of time with the young boys. That’s why we wanted him to lead the side,” Powar added.

“Captaincy made him more empathetic towards the young players because he knows that when you’re going through a rough patch, you need a good support system. Prithvi has now grown up and knows what exactly needs to be done. He’s also more disciplined,” Powar emphasised.

Lefthander Padikkal made a mark last year itself for RCB in his debut IPL. “Playing and sharing the dressing room with Kohli and other big names instilled the belief that he was ready for the highest level.

“At present, he has become fitter and stronger in terms of hitting the ball harder,” explained Karntaka coach Yere Goud.

Now, will Shaw and Padikkal be able to make a similar impact in the opportunities that lie ahead?

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