Exclusive: Sri Lanka series a great opportunity for Shaw, says Amre
The prospects are alluring for India’s cricket fans as they wait to see if the uncapped players in the Shikhar Dhawan-led team can replicate their Indian Premier League (IPL) form in the Sri Lanka limited overs series.
Having illuminated the IPL stage, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devdutt Padikkal will be hoping to make a seamless transition to international cricket when the Sri Lanka series gets underway with the first of the three ODIs on July 18 (the two teams will also play a three-match T20I series).
But there will be another young player who will be hoping to stamp his mark on the series.
Prithvi Shaw’s international career hasn’t quite hit the highs after the dream Test debut in 2018.
The Mumbai player even had to serve an eight- month doping ban after he “inadvertently ingested a prohibited substance, which can be commonly found in cough syrups.”
His return to international cricket following the doping ban ended in tears.
Shaw’s technique was brutally exposed in Australia when he was clean bowled in both innings of the first Test in Adelaide.
The opener was dropped from the team that went on to script a stunning come-from-behind victory in the four-Test series.
With his international career at a crossroads, Shaw went back to the drawing board, worked hard on his game and became the first player in history to score more than 800 runs in the Vijay Hazare Trophy (a domestic 50 overs tournament).
Shaw was also impressive for the Delhi Capitals in the IPL (308 runs from 8 matches) before Covid-19 brought the league to a screeching halt in May.
Now the Sri Lankan series will get the ball rolling again, offering Shaw a golden opportunity to resurrect his international career.
Pravin Amre, Shaw’s mentor and the Delhi Capitals’ assistant coach, believes the 21-year-old opener has what it takes to be a regular all-format player for India.
“He has got the potential to play in all formats. This (Sri Lanka) series is a blessing in disguise for him,” Amre told Khaleej Times.
It was Amre whose guidance helped Shaw after he returned from Australia.
“I know him since he was a kid, when he was only playing school cricket,” said Amre who famously scored a hundred on his debut against the Allan Donald-led South African bowling attack in the 1992 Durban Test.
“When he came from Australia this year, he was disturbed. I had a chat with the Delhi Capitals management and they asked me to help him.
“So I worked on the mental side and the technical side of the game since he was getting out in the same manner in Australia. We worked on closing the gap between his bat and pad.”
Having worked with several players as India A coach, Amre’s trained eye can spot a special talent.
“Prithvi’s one of the most gifted players I have seen. Also, he was always a consistent player, right from his school cricket days,” Amre said.
“In his Ranji Trophy debut, he scored a hundred. In his Duleep trophy debut, he got a hundred, in his Test debut he got a hundred.
“So the consistency was always there, he was ready to play at a higher level. That really struck me. He has a special talent, he has that gift of timing.
“This Sri Lanka series is now an opportunity for him to show that talent.”