India batting coach Vikram Rathour on Saturday said that Prithvi Shaw’s reintegration into the national team will depend on how he shapes up post his doping suspension.
All set to make a comeback in domestic cricket, Shaw was suspended for failing a dope test. Additionally, there were reports of the batsman losing focus during India’s last tour of Australia, where he got injured in a warm-up game.
With Mayank Agarwal making a brilliant start to his Test career and Rohit Sharma also revelling in the opener’s role, it could be a steep climb for the 20-year-old, who was the second youngest Indian to score a hundred on Test debut.
When asked how the team management was planning to reintegrate Shaw, Rathour replied: “Getting back into the team will be the selectors’ decision. As far as team management is concerned, I think he’s a phenomenal player. So let’s see how it goes, how he shapes up after the suspension.”
Rathour spoke about how someone like Mayank Agarwal was setting the bar higher. “Rather than us [support staff] pushing them, they push us,” Rathour.
He added, “Somebody like Mayank, after scoring so many runs, is still coming and asking what better he can do, what are the areas he can improve upon. That’s a great character to have. And that’s not one guy, everyone in the team is like that.”
Shaw has fallen in the pecking order with U-19 World Cup winning teammate Shubman Gill being designated as the team’s reserve opener. KL Rahul remains in the scheme of things along with India A regulars Abhimanyu Easwaran and Priyank Panchal. “I’m sure he’s [Shaw] working hard and getting ready to come back. And, how he gets back will depend on a lot of other factors.”
While Rathour didn’t specify what exactly he meant by other factors, the BCCI brass will certainly watch Shaw’s moves keenly, especially his India U-19 coach Rahul Dravid, who who has been a central figure in mentoring him during his time away from cricket.
Recently, on his 20th birthday, Shaw tweeted that he will be a new Prithvi.