In the absence of Rohit Sharma, Prithvi Shaw was given the nod ahead of Shubman Gill to open for India in the first Test against New Zealand at basin Reserve, Wellington. But the young batsman failed to make the most of his opportunities in both innings with scores of 16 and 14.
Shaw was cleaned up by a Tim Southee half-volley outswinger which was asking to be driven but the 20-year old did not move his front foot, resulting in him getting squared up. Up until then, the U-19 World Cup-winning captain had hit two fours but never looked settled. India were all out for 165 with New Zealand getting to 348 in reply.
In the second innings, Shaw seemed to have not learnt from his first run-in as he looked loose and played away from his body. Trent Boult set him up by digging one in from round the wicket, which left the right-hander surprised and fending for it. Tom Latham, at short backward square leg, took a diving catch to his left to remove him.
And fans expressed their frustrations:
Alas, Prithvi Shaw falls for another small score, a couple of smashing boundaries flattering to deceive, making place in playing XI wobbly— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) February 23, 2020
The sooner Prithvi Shaw realises that he is no Sehwag, the better it will be for him #NZvIND— Rameshwar Singh (@RSingh6969a) February 23, 2020
Prithvi Shaw's forehead is bigger than my future.— The Meme Makers (@the7mememakers) February 23, 2020
@StarSportsIndia— Sanjay (@Sanjay07949736) February 23, 2020
Why indian team mangement can try KL Rahul instead of Prithvi Shaw.
Guess Prithvi Shaw really wants to play like a 'peak' Virender Sehwag but his shots suggest he's more like Viru at the fag end of his career! #NZvIND— Dominic Richard (@ELDommyNick) February 23, 2020
Should Shubman Gill open in the next Test? #TeamIndia
Mayank and Pujara are tackling Boult, Jamieson pretty well #NZvsIND
It looks Prithvi Shaw is a flat track bully. He needs to grind in domestic cricket to know d price of selection for India. Meanwhile what happens to Priyank Panchal last year's highest run getter.? He & Mayank ver vying opener slot cud nt get even one chance, does he nt deserve?— Ved (@kanisshk) February 23, 2020
Overseas conditions, Prithvi Shaw certainly cannot be a choice of opener as of now. Too many exploitable areas in his batting. #indvsnz— Karan Wadekar (@karan_rw) February 23, 2020
In the tour match against New Zealand XI at Hamilton before the first Test, 2018 U-19 World Cup -winning teammates Shaw and Gill both did not fare too well but the former got the nod because of his comparatively better pedigree in the format.
Shaw last played Test cricket in October 2018. After cracking a 154-ball 134 on debut in Rajkot, Shaw was selected for the following Australia tour, but an ankle injury sidelined him from the entire series. Shaw was suspended for a doping violation later in 2019 and therefore missed the West Indies tour and then the home series against West Indies and Bangladesh.
Gill is still to make his Test debut, but smashed 83 and an unbeaten 204 for India A in the first four-day fixture in Christchurch against New Zealand A. India are without regular Test opener Rohit Sharma who injured himself during the T20 series. With Gill snapping at his heels, it remains to be seen whether Shaw gets another chance in the second and final Test of the two-match series.
(With IANS inputs)