2020 vs 2021: What has underpinned the rise of Prithvi Shaw? | Prithvi Shaw is having a superb 2021, compared to 2020: We look at why this is the case
The great performance of some of the Indian players was one of the best things to have happened in IPL 2021. Prithvi Shaw was one of those players as he played some breathtaking knocks and played a very crucial role for DC to be placed at the top of the table.
His performance was extremely good this time unlike last year, where he struggled badly. So, let’s have a look at how different he was in IPL 2021 from IPL 2020; i.e. the areas he has improved on and the reasons for his improvement.
Comparison of Overall Numbers:
Let’s first compare his overall stats of this year with that of 2020. Below is a graph depicting the same.
We can clearly see the contrasting difference between the respective runs scored, average and SR between 2020 and 2021. Now let’s go to the depth to find out what went wrong with him in 2020 and the reason for his rise in 2021.
PRITHVI SHAW VS PACE AND SPIN IN IPL 2020 AND 2021:
Let’s first see what Prithvi Shaw did against pace in both IPL 2020 and 2021. Below is a table where I have mentioned his stats against pace bowling in both of these seasons.
Now we have to see whether he struggled against spin bowling in both these seasons or not. For this purpose, I have mentioned his numbers against spin bowling in the respective seasons.
From the above tables, it is clear that Prithvi Shaw didn’t struggle against spin in both IPL 2020 and 2021; rather he struggled a lot against seam bowling in 2020. But as we can see, he has done extremely well against seamers in IPL 2021.
Specifically, he was dismissed 9 out of 13 times by right arm seamers in IPL 2020. So, let’s first compare his numbers against right arm fast bowlers in IPL 2020 to those in IPL 2021.
PRITHVI SHAW v/s RIGHT ARM SEAMERS IN IPL 2020 and 2021:-
What were his issues against right-arm seam and how has he overcome them?
Upon investigating his modes of dismissals against right arm fast bowlers in IPL 2020, I found that he was caught most of the times (5 out of 9 dismissals) while trying to whack the ball pitched on either back of the length or short length somehow over the infield. The reason behind these dismissals was his poor footwork. His feet were going nowhere; he was reaching towards the ball by his hands. So, whenever he got room much outside the off stump, he got a chance to free his arms and play his shots.
Similarly, when he got deliveries on the leg stump line, he wasn’t bothered as he could easily play those using his wrists without moving his feet much. But, he tried to execute the pull shot against the deliveries pitched short of a good length around the off and middle stump line somehow without moving his backfoot. Sometimes the ball wasn’t even the ideal one to play a pull shot. That’s why he couldn’t connect those properly and was caught mostly inside the 30-yard circle.
The other 4 dismissals against right arm fast bowlers included 2 bowled, 1 caught behind and 1 caught and bowled. All the deliveries were pitched on fuller side of the good length area on or around the off stump and had movement. As his feet were planted, so he was bound to struggle against movement. He used to take guard on the leg stump and play this type of a delivery without moving his feet much. So, there was a big gap created between his bat and pad and he was either bowled or caught upon mistiming those. Below I have inserted an image which depicts the same.
This technical deficiency was well exploited in Australia and Shaw soon found himself out of the national side. He had a huge challenge to overcome in this IPL as his weakness was pretty evident. Of course, as always in the IPL, he was set to face world-class fast bowlers who could easily exploit this area.
But, he was high on confidence on the back of some extraordinary performances in the Vijay Hazare trophy prior to the IPL. In IPL 2021, he was seen shuffling to counter the deliveries targeting his stumps after pitching on or around the off stump channel. As a result, he was able to get much closer to the ball than he used to in IPL 2020. The gap between his bat and pad was reduced drastically and he was playing those deliveries with a straighter bat face right under his eyes, which resulted in better execution of his shots. Below I have inserted an image of his improved approach in IPL 2021.
Now let’s see his numbers against left arm seamers in IPL 2020 and 2021.
PRITHVI SHAW V/S LEFT ARM SEAMERS IN IPL 2020 AND 2021:
As we can see, he doesn’t have great numbers against the left arm seamers in both these seasons. But in 2020, Trent Boult dismissed him all three times by exploiting his poor footwork (twice by letting him play the moving ball away from his body and once with a well directed bouncer), which is not the case in 2021. In IPL 2021, he was dismissed once by Jaydev Unadkat with a slower delivery, which he couldn’t pick and played the shot earlier than he should have played. The other dismissal came against Arshdeep Singh while he was trying to take him on and miscued an aerial shot. Although he had a lesser SR and higher bpb this time, the significant reduction in the dot ball percentage indicates that he concentrated on rotating the strike against the left arm seamers and mostly attacked the right arm seamers (with his improved technique) and the spinners.
In IPL 2020 as well as 2021, Prithvi Shaw didn’t look very comfortable against well directed short balls. In IPL 2021, he mistimed a few pulls at times and left some short balls as well. So, I feel his game against short balls is something he needs to work on. In this era of highly improved data and video analysis, you always need to be alert and work on your weaknesses quickly; otherwise you can be found out by the opposition within no time.
Concluding the article, I praise the way he has tackled the right arm fast bowlers in IPL 2021 with his improved technique. He looked determined, spent much more time in the middle (faced 10.285 more deliveries per innings than he did in 2020) and batted as per his strengths which was commendable. Also, I am eager to see him further against the left arm fast bowlers and I hope for some improvement in his game against short deliveries.
Thanks for reading and share your thoughts!
Written by Debashish Sarangi. Follow Debashish on Twitter today.