Decoding Issues in Prithvi Shaw’s Technique

Prithvi Shaw’s batting technique is under the pump after his indistinguishable dismissals in the first test match against Australia in Adelaide. Opening the batting is never easy, that too against top quality bowling attack including Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood. Hence, Prithvi Shaw’s form is not what is being criticised but the way he got out is being censured. The Australian bowling attack is capable of bowling quick and swinging the ball both ways. But, to get out in the same way in both the innings indicates some serious flaws in your batting technique.

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After Shaw’s nightmarish test, many experts pointed out flaws in his technique. So, let’s come to the point.

What is Prithvi Shaw’s technique?

Shaw’s technique includes a high backlift. Basically, there are two types of back lifts: Low/Straight backlift and High/Lateral backlift. Both of them have their pros and cons respectively. Low back lift is used by the players who love to play drives. It is associated with the more classic batsmen like Babar Azam and Joe Root who tend to play drives a lot better due to their straight back lift. On the other hand, the high back lift is adopted by modern generation players like Johnny Bairstow and Prithvi Shaw. They use it probably to generate more power.

How’s the lateral backlift is troubling Prithvi Shaw?

The high backlift gives a number of advantages, such as you can play the pull shot and cut shot a bit better as the shorter length is suitable for high backlift.

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But there are some drawbacks as well which Shaw’s batting clearly has. Let’s have a look at those flaws:

Time taken by the bat to catch the length of the ball:

Due to his high backlift, Shaw’s bat takes a lot of time to catch the length of the ball. This was quite evident in his dismissals in his career. He was unable to reach the length of the ball. The reason behind that could be his high backlift.

Late front foot stride:

More time taken by the bat could not be that conspicuous, but that can be analysed by his front foot stride. In both the dismissals in the first test, Shaw’s front foot wasn’t planted. It was about to be placed but it wasn’t, at the time of the impact of the ball. This means that his stride was just in process and hence, it was late. This was even expressed by legendary batsman Ricky Ponting when he was on air during the match:

The problem and the worry is that his front foot is not planted. His front foot is still in the air. He’s late on the ball, he’s late moving his way into the ball. If he actually gets full stride forward, that eliminates the gap between the bat and the pad.

Ricky Ponting
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Therefore, he’s late on the ball and this is possibly happening because he’s bringing his bat from fine leg direction. This is taking a bit more time than expected and that’s what is harming him.

The gap between the bat and the pad:

Now, this is the biggest worry. The points discussed earlier were the flaws but that actually didn’t cost him the wicket. The huge gap between the bat and the pad actually cost him the wicket.

As mentioned by Ponting, the gap is created because he’s late on the ball and he’s late because of his backlift. Hence, the root cause is the lateral back lift.

To add more to this, there is one more fault to point out.

Playing with hard hands:

Being an aggressive batsman, Shaw loves to attack. He generates a lot of power with his high backlift. The plan works in the limited-overs format when the ball isn’t moving. However, it fails in the Test Cricket where the ball offers movement. Shaw’s hard-hitting is prone to edges in red-ball cricket. He has exposed this weakness a couple of times before.

Then comes the question:

Why wasn’t this weakness exposed earlier?

The point is very much valid as Shaw has scored many runs with the same technique. The answer is his weakness wasn’t identified before this series. He was bowled a lot of shorter deliveries in the last series when he came to Australia.

Interestingly, shorter delivery is what he loves as he doesn’t want to bring his bat down. That’s the reason he’s a terrific player of the cut shot. In fact, when he played his first innings on Australian soil, he scored more than 60% of his boundaries on the backfoot. Moreover, he got out because he was late on the ball.

This time around when India toured Australia, Shaw got out in the same way in the practice test match against Australia A.

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Aussies might have studied his weakness and exposed it in the first test match.

How can he overcome this phase?

A bad phase in Cricket is very common as it happens with almost everyone. Virat faced it in England in 2014. He went back, worked on his technique, came back stronger in 2018. The same case is with Prithvi Shaw. He’s going through that bad phase. He just needs to give a bit of time to himself as his confidence might be low after what happened in the first test. He needs to go back, work on his technique and he’ll come back stronger.

Featured Image: Prithvi Shaw | Instagram

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