Ricky Ponting has backed Prithvi Shaw to have “his biggest IPL season ever”, noting that the India batter is working harder, looking hungrier, and is in better physical shape than ever before.
Speaking to reporters at a Delhi Capitals event, head coach Ponting revealed that Shaw has been at the IPL camp since its first day, and has been putting in more work than he has ever before.
“He’s been here right from the start, actually,” Ponting said. “He’s been at the NCA, training out there. He got left there as soon as he could come to join our training camps. He’s worked hard and trained better than I have ever seen Prithvi Shaw leading into an IPL before. He’s in better physical shape than I have ever seen him before.
“And I spoke to him the other day about his attitude and the way that he is working and how things are going. I think this is going to his biggest season ever in the IPL. He just has that different look in his eyes. He’s probably hungrier than ever. ”
“Yes, he has had some success for us, but the level of talent and ability that he has got, we are going to see the real Prithvi Shaw this season.”
Shaw, 23, has been touted to be India’s batting future for a long time, but has been out of favour from the senior side for a few years. Dropped from the Test side in 2020, he last played ODIs and T20Is in 2021, although a long-awaited call-up to the squad did come in January.
In domestic cricket, Shaw has been piling on the big runs. In the 2022/23 Ranji Trophy, he averaged 59.50 from six games, smashing a 383-ball 379 in one of them. In the 2022/23 Syed Mushtaq Ali T20s, he was the second-highest run-getter with a strike rate of 181.42, and has been providing brisk starts to Delhi Capitals over the last couple of IPL seasons.
The golden run led to a recall to the T20I squad in January, but he did not get a game, with the larger media focus deviating to an off-field incident in Mumbai. The cricketer was involved in a street brawl with a fan, reportedly over a selfie, and was allegedly attacked with a baseball bat.
Years ago, Ponting himself was in the line of fire as a youngster in his early twenties, and had his own off-field issues to handle. However, he bounced back to become one of the game’s greats; as a coach, he uses his own example to advise astray youngsters on how to find the right path.
“Absolutely. It’s well-documented that I had some issues,” Ponting said candidly. “But it is all about just being true to yourself and wanting to be the best you can be. The one thing I have always said about players is, I don’t like laziness and I don’t like guys not utilising the talent they have got. That is one thing I always say.
“That’s my job as a coach. If I can see the guys aren’t working as hard as they should, they’re not getting the most out of them, then it’s my job to change that. It seems to be this season, something has really clicked with Prithvi. He seems to be in a better space than ever before.”
“In fact, he has done extra work every session since we’ve been here, whether it’s been on his batting, his fitness or his fielding. That’s a great sign.
“I actually said to him at training two days ago. This game, the game of cricket, if you don’t pay full attention to the game, it will take away from you. But if you put in and do the hard yards, then the game will give back to you all the time. That’s why I feel this could be a big year for him.”
Delhi Capitals will play their first game of the season on April 1. Here’s the complete IPL 2023 schedule.
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