Kolkata: Prithvi Shaw may be only 21 years old, but has been through a lot in life already. From poverty during his growing up years to big-time adulation, a doping ban to the threshold of resurrection - to being vilified for a defficiency in technique which saw him being dropped from the Test squad during the tour of Australia.
The high backlift which so long aided his bat swing and the gap between the bat and pad came under the scanner bigtime - and it was understandable as he kept getting bowled or dragging the incoming deliveries onto the stumps. What was, however, a matter of concern that a negative perception started building about him - right from his attitude to questions if he was going the 'Vinod Kambli way.'
It's in this context that the pint-sized opener's classy 72 for Delhi Capitals - and his partnership with senior pro Shikhar Dhawan which took the match away from Chennai Super Kings in their opening match of IPL has to be viewed. The buzz all around is that of redemption being around the corner for him but in this sport, there is no guarantee that he can maintain such a rich vein of form throughout such a long tournament.
What's more important here is his resilience - and the amount of homework that he and his brains trust had put together to iron out the flaws in his game. Pravin Amre, the former Indian international and the go-to person for most of the Mumbai-based batsmen whenever they are in doubt, was at hand and together - they decided to go ''back to basics'' at Amre's clinic at the Shivaji Maidan.
During a conversation with Gulf News sometime back, Amre - who incidentally is the batting coach of Delhi Capitals this year - revealed they could only work for a week together as Shaw had to get into the bio bubble for Mumbai team for the Vijay Hazare Trophy. A childhood coach of Rahane, Amre was fervently hoping that the gifted Shaw would use the window of this 50-overs tournament to play himself back into reckoning - but never expected the carnage from Shaw which followed.
Shaw was simply unstoppable as he became the first batsman to cross the 800-run barrier in the tournament (827 with four centuries) as he led Mumbai to a title-triumph. Both he and Devdutt Padikkal of Karnataka seemed to be in a competition of century-hitting, but Shaw could not be in the reckoning for the Indian squad which had already been named for the two white ball series against England ahead of the domestic affair.
It's still early days to say if we are seeing a Prithvi Shaw 2.0. Just to jog the memory, he had started off the IPL 2020 on a strong note before fading away and looked woefully short of confidence Down Under. The redeeming feature is, having experienced the rejection and done the hard yards, he seems better prepared this time to throw his hat into reckoning for the Indian opener's role in all formats!