Azharuddin's advise for Prithvi Shaw: Tighten your defence

After falling for a duck in the first innings in Adelaide, Shaw lasted just four balls in the second innings of the first Test before being cleaned up by Pat Cummins.

An ecstatic Pat Cummins celebrates the dismissal of Prithvi Shaw in Adelaide on Friday.   -  AP

As Prithvi Shaw’s streak of failures continues in Australia, former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin believes that it is important for the youngster to tighten his defence.

After falling for a duck in the first innings in Adelaide, Shaw lasted just four balls in the second innings of the first Test before being cleaned up by Pat Cummins for just four runs - raising serious doubts over his future.

“No matter how great a batsman you are, as an opener, you have to have solid defence, while facing quality Australian bowlers,” Azharuddin told Sportstar.

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“He has enormous talent but his game is free-flowing, and there will be days when he can rip apart opponents. But that won’t happen everyday. As an opener, the basic job is to take the shine off the new ball. Even if you don’t score too many runs, it is important that you be patient and try to stay at the crease for long…”

Former India captain Mohammed Azharuddin.   -  PTI

 

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“That way, you gain the confidence and once you are settled, you can play your strokes. That’s how you score runs. You cannot be impatient at the highest level,” Azharuddin said.

In the seaming conditions Down Under, the 21-year-old has had issues with his footwork and Azharuddin said: “I hope that somebody in the team management tells him that he needs to tighten his defence. You can’t play a similar attacking game that you played against the West Indies two years ago, because you are playing pink ball after a long time, so it is anyway challenging. So you need to focus.”

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When the youngster from Mumbai broke into the Indian Test team and hammered consecutive hundreds against the West Indies in the autumn of 2018, the cricketing fraternity started comparing him with Sachin Tendulkar. Azharuddin believes that such comparisons can only be discussed after “15 years of playing cricket.”