Having last represented India two years ago in July 2021, Prithvi Shaw sought a change of fortune by joining Northamptonshire. Despite some notable performances against weaker opposition in the Ranji Trophy and a couple of fifties in the IPL, Shaw’s batting remained quiet for a long time. Notably, he emerged as the second run-scorer in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, but it had been almost a year since he amassed 332 runs in 10 matches for Mumbai. Adding to his woes, an off-field row involving a social media influencer ratcheted things up, with reports of disciplinary issues resurfacing. Cricket remained Shaw’s only path to redemption.
However, his return to the playing fields did not bring the desired results either. Recording just one fifty in 8 matches for Delhi Capitals, Shaw set his sights on the Duleep Trophy but once again met with disappointment, scoring 26, 25, 65 and 7. It is amazing to think that this is the same cricketer who , a few years back, he was hailed as the next Sachin Tendulkar and had introduced himself to the world with a debut century for India. Something had to give.
And he did. After some promising starts in the Royal One-Day Cup, Shaw set the stage alight with a scintillating knock of 244 against Somerset, obliterating a number of records. With 28 fours and 11 sixes – take a moment to absorb that – Shaw ruthlessly dismantled the Somerset seven-bowler figures, amassing a stunning total of 415 runs for the Northants. Despite missing out on the highest ever score by an Indian in the tournament, Shaw broke several records during his marathon appearances.
Although Shaw remains far from regaining his place in the Indian squad – his last involvement was in the squad for the Sri Lanka series, where he did not feature and was omitted from the 30-man squad for both the tour of Ireland and the Asian Games tour – he immerses himself wholeheartedly in the experience of English cricket.
“Definitely (here for the) experience for sure. I’m not really thinking about what the Indian selectors might be thinking but I just want to have a good time here. Northamptonshire have given me this opportunity… they’re really looking after me. I’m really enjoying it,” said Shaw after the match.
“The sun was out, it was kind of like India weather today (Wednesday), so it looked really good. I wasn’t thinking about anything. You know when an inside edge doesn’t get me, that means that day is for me. You’ve got to be lucky at times, so I think that was a day for me. I didn’t look back after that. When I got 150, I thought I was timing the ball really well and that could be the day I went bigger.”
What was going through Shaw’s mind?
Shaw entered the record books by achieving the sixth highest score in the history of List A cricket, eclipsing his own remarkable 227 against Puducherry in the process. Incidentally, he now joins Rohit Sharma as the only other batsman to achieve more than a double century in List A. As Shaw accelerated from 100 to 200 in just 48 deliveries, he admitted that surpassing his previous personal best crossed his mind . However, Shaw stressed that his ultimate focus remains on securing victory for the team.
“227 was on my mind to be honest. I spoke to Whitey (Sam Whiteman) when he was there and told him it’s 227, my highest score. It was a good team effort all around. I always try to win matches for the team and I am the kind of player who puts my team first and then myself,” added the India spring drop-out.
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