Dubai: Prithvi Shaw, the gifted young India and Delhi Capitals opener, revealed it was a ‘torture’ for him to stay away from the game with a ban for drug abuse soon after playing in the Indian Premier League last year.
“It was a mistake. And the period away from cricket was a torture,” Shaw said during an Instagram live session on the Delhi franchise’s official handle. “Doubts and questions arise, but I kept the faith and belief. I spent some time in London where I was working on my fitness, as I wasn’t allowed to bat anywhere. When the ban got over and I returned to domestic cricket, I was hungrier than before. I picked up my bat and realized I hadn’t lost my touch at all. If anything, that time off made me a more determined person.”
It was in July last year when Shaw’s career received a jolt as he was handed an eight-month ban after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) ruled he “inadvertently ingested a prohibited substance (terbutaline), which can commonly be found in cough syrups”.
Shaw’s ban was backdated to March 16 despite the fact he was playing for the Delhi Capitals in the IPL until May 8, which made him eligible to competitive cricket again on November 16.
Speaking on how he has been spending time during the nationwide lockdown as India fights the coronavirus pandemic, the 20-year-old said: “I’ve been working out a bit indoors and shadow practicing to maintain my fitness levels. I’ve also been helping my father in the kitchen. I can cook eggs quite well, and I’m trying to learn a few new things. I’ve been playing some PUBG too.”
Stressing on the importance of mental health in such unprecedented times, Shaw said: “Mental strength is very important at this time, given that we are all restricted indoors. A lot of us don’t have patience for things in life, so now is a great time to work on it. Everyone should find something to do that they like and work towards perfecting that. That process in itself will help one grow calmer and become more patient.”
The 2019 IPL season saw a re-branded Delhi team turning the corner when they made the play-offs after seven years and finished third. According to Shaw, the support staff - which boasted of legends like Ricky Ponting and Sourav Ganguly - had a major role to play in the transformation. “On and off the field, our team was like a family. “We had Ricky (Ponting) Sir, Dada (Sourav Ganguly), (Mohammad) Kaif Sir to help us with anything – the environment was perfect.”
Any funny anecdote from the season gone by? Shaw recalled how a poker faced Ponting had once scared him by ordering him to take 10 rounds of the Feroz Shah Kotla as he had reported late for a pre-training team meeting. “I was looking for some new spikes in the dressing room that day and reached the ground a bit late,” he said.
“I completed the entire training – fielding and batting sessions – and had no energy left to run 10 rounds of the ground. Luckily, I didn’t have to. Turns out Ricky Sir just wanted to scare me off for my late attendance that day!”