While the Test series between India and Australia will feature some of the biggest modern-day cricketers such as Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Cheteshwar Pujara, David Warner, Jasprit Bumrah and Pat Cummins, it will also present a golden opportunity to some of the promising youngsters to make a mark.
Former Australia captain, renowned commentator, analyst and columnist Ian Chappell is eager to see the likes of youngsters Will Pucovski and Cameron Green – who earned his maiden Test call-up when Australia’s squad for the Border-Gavaskar series was announced. Even for India, eyes will be on Mayank Agarwal who had a memorable tour of Australia in 2018/19, making his Test debut for India and going on to make rapid strides in the format. Then there is fast bowler Mohammed Siraj who was drafted in India’s Test squad ahead in place of an injured Ishant Sharma.
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However, another India player who will be the cynosure of all eyes will be young Prithvi Shaw. The batsman, who scored a century on Test debut, has lately fallen off the radar and finds himself in a terrible slump with a string of low scores in the IPL 2020. Shaw was in line to play the previous series, before an ankle injury sustained in the practice match ruled him out of the series. After proper rehab and working his way back into the Test side, Shaw will have a point to prove and Chappell in particular is keen to see how the youngster fares.
“India’s Prithvi Shaw burst onto the scene with a Test century on debut as an 18-year-old, but has since exuded signs he’s yet to ‘work it out’,” Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNCricinfo.
“Having missed out on valuable experience on the last tour of Australia because of an untimely ankle injury, he then displayed signs in New Zealand that he’s now closer to working it out and this Australian tour could well further that progression.”
In his short international career, Shaw has been exposed to tremendous highs and lows. He was in the news for his alleged disciplinary issues before being banned for doping. He returned to play the Indian domestic season where he had a fine outing in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, which paved the way for his inclusion in India A’s squad for the tour of New Zealand. However, he injured his shoulder this time around and was ruled out of the warm-up games.
Shaw played the limited-overs games for India A and earned a call in the Test squad. During the two Test series in New Zealand, Shaw struck a solid half-century even though India lost the series 0-2. However, it is his current form in the IPL that remains Shaw’s biggest concern. In 13 matches, Shaw has tallied 228 runs with two-half-centuries in the first half. The second half of the IPL has seen Shaw struggle with three ducks, two successive. In the previous seven innings, once has Shaw entered double digits.