April 11, 2021 8:52:24 am
India and Delhi Capitals player Prithvi Shaw went through a horror patch in the last IPL that tailed him in the series in Australia. A string of low scores led to him being dropped in the middle of the Test series. Since then he has worked on his game, particularly his bat-swing, to bounce back.
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What was the problem five-six months back?
When the ball moved around, especially when it cut back into him, he was in trouble. The primary reason was his bat-lift and bat swing. The hands initially moved back and up like most batsmen, but suddenly they betrayed him, going wider, away from him to the right, before he would drag them back in line. That detour cut his reaction time, accentuated the bat-pad gap, upset the downward bat-swing, and delayed the bat coming down in time for the incoming ball. It also affected his game against the away-shaper as he would end up playing away from the body. It wasn’t a problem against lesser bowlers in domestic cricket but it was a red flag for bowlers with greater skill in IPL and the Australian pacers.
What was the course correction he has done?
Ever since he was dropped mid-series in Australia, and especially once back in India, he has been working on it. The proof of correction came in the 50-overs Vijay Hazare tournament. The bat-lift is now a lot straighter (relatively). It’s more streamlined and fluid. Resultantly, he was more compact in that 50-over tournament and was beginning to move into line of the ball a lot more. The question remained, however, whether he would be able to take the form into the IPL and he has started well against the swing bowlers of Chennai Super Kings. He wasn’t particularly tested by the nipbackers which undoubtedly other teams in the competition would attempt.
What did he say about his technical issues?
“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,” he told this newspaper.
Was there any other problem apart from the bat-lift?
In the couple of years, he had an issue where he was getting too legside of the ball by his tendency to move his back leg almost outside the leg stump. It wasn’t that much of a problem on its own but combined with his bat-lift and bat-swing, it proved to be a downer as he was playing too far away from the body. He had been working on that ever since the 2018 tour of England where Ravi Shastri in particular tried to sort out that particular issue. That movement stopped more or less, and last IPL, he tried to correct it further by taking a middle-stump guard and a slightly-open stance, with his back leg on the middle-stump line. But the problem had moved from the feet to the hands by then.
Was he also trying to hit the ball too hard last IPL?
He didn’t stay too long in the middle in Australia but he certainly was trying to hit the ball too hard last IPL, and often yanked out of position as a result. It’s a thing that was noticed by the people who have worked with him before. Someone like Julian Wood, a power-hitting coach who has interacted with a young Shaw when he was not even in his teens, told this newspaper, “He was trying to hit the ball hard. That’s not his game. He is a punchy player; he doesn’t have to hit the ball hard. Also, his hands had started to go out a bit in the bat-swing. They were going too wide”.
What was his mind space in Australia when he was dropped?
“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,” he told this newspaper.
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