Kaif shares strong message for ‘X-factor’ player after India snub | Cricket – SportsMediaz


Four years ago in 2018, Prithvi Shaw – going through the boy-turning-into-a-man phase but still having the boyish charm of a 17-year-old – left the shores for New Zealand for the Under-19 World Cup. He returned from the Trans-Tasman nation with his reputation enhanced, having led the team to the prestigious title. Selectors issued a maiden Test call-up to Shaw in the same year. Cut to the present, the youngster faces a stiff challenge to make his India case all over again.

While Rahul Tripathi has earned a call-up for the Ireland Twenty20s following a stellar IPL season, Shaw seems nowhere in the scheme of things, especially at a time when the team is finding an ideal combination for this year’s T20 World Cup in Australia. Cricket and uncertainty go hand-in-hand and Shaw still awaits a comeback despite scoring 283 runs at a strike rate of 152.97 in the recent IPL season. For the most part, Delhi Capitals enjoyed brisk starts, thanks to the left-right opening pair of Shaw and David Warner.

Former India batter Mohammad Kaif believes Shaw needs to go back to the basics and excel in domestic cricket. He underlined the stiff competition within the Indian team but said Shaw has got the “X-factor” besides his batting pyrotechnics.

“Shaw is still young and there are a lot of openers in the Indian team at present. There’s Gill, Agarwal, Rahul, Rohit… yes there’s competition but if I were Shaw, I will go back to domestic cricket and Ranji. He’s been leading Mumbai, who are in the finals,” Kaif told Hindustan Times during a virtual interaction.

Shaw’s last game in India colours was in 2021 when a second-string Indian team visited Sri Lanka for a limited-overs assignment.

“Go back, get runs. There’s still a lot of time for a comeback. I have worked with him. He has got the X-factor with his skills. I see Shaw coming back stronger whenever he gets the chance to play for India again. But like I said, there are lot of good players in the squad and that’s why Shaw has probably not been picked for the coming series,” he further added.

RAHUL TRIPATHI’s MAIDEN CALL-UP

Kaif also heaped praise on Tripathi for putting on consistent performances in the IPL and domestic circuit. The Maharashtra right-handed batter heads to Ireland after a stellar IPL season with Sunrisers Hyderabad where he scored over 400 runs.

“When I heard Tripathi getting picked for India, I was very happy. Because he is someone who has done well in domestic cricket and IPL. Be it KKR or SRH, he has been fantastic, looking at the way he is striking the ball. He can come in at No. 3, and play spin and fast bowling really well. I hope he gets a chance to play. I feel someone like Tripathi will grab the chance with both hands. He looks ready for India and hope he plays fantastic knocks in Ireland,” said Kaif.

While the Rohit Sharma-Virat Kohli-Jasprit Bumrah troika has been rested for the series, Hardik Pandya will lead the 17-member squad for the two games at Malahide on June 26 and 28.

Hardik led his IPL newbies Gujarat Titans to victory in its debut season and also shone during the just-concluded home series against South Africa.

About Hardik’s leadership, Kaif said, “He has ticked most boxes in captaincy. He was spot on when it came to winning the toss and assessing the conditions. Hardik’s own form was brilliant. He batted at No.3 and 4 during the powerplay and bowled a few overs as well. If you go back to see the auction, you won’t say Gujarat is a strong side on paper. But it’s how you perform on the field.”

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