Prithvi Shaw: ‘The period away from cricket was a torture’

The 20-year-old Prithvi Shaw, who spent a part of 2019 serving a doping ban, reflects on his time away from the game, and the lessons learnt.

Prithvi Shaw plays soccer during a training session.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Around this time, Prithvi Shaw would have been busy featuring in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the Delhi Capitals. Instead, the young batsman is stuck at home due to the COVID-19 lockdown across the country.

But that didn’t stop him from interacting with his fans and sharing the stories of his life and cricketing career. “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,” Shaw said during an Instagram live session from the franchise’s handle.

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The 20-year-old, who spent a part of 2019 serving a doping ban, reflected on his time away from the game, and the lessons learnt. “It was a mistake. And the period away from cricket was a torture,” he said. “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 realised I hadn’t lost my touch at all. If anything, that time off made me a more determined person.”

Shaw also spoke about the 2019 season of the IPL, where Delhi Capitals finished third, having made it to the play-offs after a seven-year gap. “On and off the field, our team was like a family,” he said. “We had Ricky (Ponting) Sir, Dada (Sourav Ganguly), (Mohammad) Kaif Sir to help us with anything – the environment was perfect.”

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When asked to recall a funny anecdote from the season gone by, Shaw spoke about how Ponting had once scared him by ordering him to take ten rounds of the Feroz Shah Kotla as he had reported slightly 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 ten 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!”

Shaw also spoke about the importance of mental health in such unprecedented times. “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.”

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