Former India skipper Mohammad Azharuddin has suggested Prithvi Shaw to work on his defence after his lacklustre batting show against Australia. Shaw’s dreadful form with the bat continued in the Adelaide Test after he registered figures of 0 and 4 in the first and second innings respectively.
On both occasions, the youngster left a significant gap between his pad and bat, enough for Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins to run through the gates and shatter his woodwork.
Shaw’s woeful batting stint may lead to his omission from the subsequent Boxing Day Test, scheduled to start from December 26 at the MCG. Shubman Gill and KL Rahul, eagerly waiting to break into the squad, will most likely replace an out-of-form Shaw and open the innings with Mayank Agarwal.
Following a string of low scores, Shaw should improve his defence, believes Azharuddin. According to Azharuddin, the Mumbai lad should be patient at the start before trying to play his strokes. “No matter how great a batsman you are, as an opener, you have to have a solid defence, while facing quality Australian bowlers,” Azharuddin told Sportstar.
In his first Test against West Indies back in 2018, Shaw had become the youngest Indian batsman to score a century on debut.
“He has enormous talent but his game is free-flowing, and there will be days when he can rip apart opponents. But that won’t happen every day. As an opener, the basic job is to take the shine off the new ball. Even if you don’t score too many runs, it is important that you be patient and try to stay at the crease for long…”
“That way, you gain confidence and once you are settled, you can play your strokes. That’s how you score runs. You cannot be impatient at the highest level,” he further said.
Azharuddin also asked Shaw to tighten his defence and tweak his ‘attacking game’ against the pink ball. Playing down Shaw’s comparisons with Sachin Tendulkar, Azharuddin said that the youngster needs to play at least ’15 years of cricket’ before he is worthy of comparisons to the Indian legend.
“I hope that somebody in the team management tells him that he needs to tighten his defence. You can’t play a similar attacking game that you played against the West Indies two years ago, because you are playing pink ball after a long time, so it is anyway challenging. So you need to focus,” he concluded.