20 year old Privthi Shaw is likely to miss India’s tour of New Zealand after suffering a tear in his left shoulder. He will be out of action for three weeks at least, whilst he recovers at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru.
This is the latest blow for a player who seemed to have the world at his feet just 15 months ago, when he made his test debut as an 18 year old against the West Indies, and went on to become the youngest player ever to score a test hundred on his first appearance for India.
But then his problems began during India’s tour of Australia, when he injured his ankle whilst fielding in a practice match. That led to him being sent home prematurely, amidst reports – which he denied – that the recall was due to disciplinary reasons, because Shaw had lost focus.
Worse was to follow in July 2019, when he was handed an eight month suspension from all forms of cricket (partially back-dated) by the BCCI after failing a doping test. Shaw had provided a urine sample as part of a routine anti-doping programme during a Ranji Trophy match in February, playing for Mumbai against Punjab. The sample was found to contain the banned substance Terbutaline, which is commonly found in cough syrups. There is no suggestion that he was deliberately trying to cheat, but protocols insist that it is the responsibility of athletes to ensure that anything they ingest is legal and above board.
Shaw’s ban was lifted on November 19th, and he immediately looked to remind the Indian selectors of what they had been missing by scoring the third fastest double century ever in the Ranji Trophy last month, playing for Mumbai.
That helped earn him a recall to the test squad, but now those plans have to be shelved whilst he recovers from his latest injury. Meanwhile, rumours continue to circulate about his conduct off the pitch, with suggestions of a poor lifestyle, and reports off a number of indiscretions which have angered Mumbai team management.
With Mayank Agarwal and Rohit Sharma having seemingly cemented their place at the top of the Test team batting order in his absence, he may face a long fight to get back to where his early displays of talent suggested he was heading. It would be a shame if his poor choices off the field robbed him of the chance to fulfil his potential.