‘Mumbai players, past and present, are always willing to help each other. I know Sachin Tendulkar has spoken to Prithvi in the past and I am sure if need be, in the future also he will again talk to him and advise him.
‘Sachin has always been available for Mumbai’s players and constantly guides them through pep talk and all and even former greats like Sunil Gavaskar Sir and Dilip Vengsarkar Sir,’ says former Mumbai’ Ranji Trophy coach Vinayak Samant.
IMAGE: Prithvi Shaw has been handed a back-dated eight-month suspension for a doping violation after ingesting a prohibited substance Terbutaline. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Prithvi Shaw’s doping ban has sent shockwaves through the corridors of Mumbai cricket.
Known as the nursery of Indian cricket, Mumbai has always been in the news for producing a lineage of world class cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Vijay Merchant, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma among others.
On Tuesday, many in Mumbai, especially the ones connected to the cricketing circles, were left stunned. 19-year-old Shaw, who hit a century on his Test debut, was suspended for eight months for a doping violation after ingesting a prohibited substance Terbutaline.
Even Vinayak Samant, who was Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy coach last year, was at a loss of words when he heard about Shaw’s latest transgression.
“Obviously, I was shocked because he is an international player for India. He should be aware of all these things and that is why I was a bit surprised that it happened,” he told KhabriBaba.com.
“I didn’t expect it all, especially from someone like Prithvi, because he has put in so much hard work and commitment to reach where he is. Getting a chance to play for India is not easy and if you are dropped from the team because of something like this, then it is very disappointing. It is very sad actually,” the 46-year-old former Mumbai wicket-keeper added.
The youngster has been touted for greatness ever since he hit a world record 546 from 300 balls for the Rizvi Springfield school in the Under-16 schools tournament in Mumbai. He also equalled Sachin Tendulkar’s record by scoring a century in his debut games in the Ranji and Duleep Trophy. Shaw also led India to the Under-19 World Cup title in 2018, before he was called up to the Indian Test squad in England aged just 18.
Shaw started his international cricket with a bang — scoring a century against the West Indies last year — but things have steadily gone downhill since then.
Reportedly, he was sent back midway from the Test series in Australia last year after the team management was unhappy with his attitude.
Already, many are wondering if Shaw is heading the same way as former India and Mumbai player Vinod Kambli, who struggled to fulfill his potential as he too struggled with disciplinary issues.
“This is similar to what happened with Vinod Kambli. You saw him coming up and going down also. So it all depends on the player, as to how they look after themselves. They should learn to handle all the fame, all the money and everything that comes with it,” said Samant.
“You take a lot of time to reach the top, but it doesn’t take much time to go down.”
Samant believes that it is not the end of the road for Shaw and he should move on from the ban and work towards making a strong comeback.
“He has to think only about his cricket from now on. He should work on his fitness, and all his focus should be on how to make a strong comeback to the Indian team.
“When you are going through bad times, some times everything goes against you. There could be a case, like in the future if he gets to play a game after eight months, he could struggle and his career could go downwards from thereon.
“So that is why, he has to take this setback as a learning experience. He should try to get on the right path and focus on what he should do to get back to the top. If he can get his mind on the right track, then it will be very good for him in the future, otherwise it doesn’t take time for things to go haywire,” he said.
Even though his ban ends on November 15, Shaw can resume training with his Mumbai team mates after September 15.
Samant says the biggest hurt for a cricketer is when he not allowed to play or even practice. But having seen Shaw closely, he believes that the youngster is mentally very strong and will definitely bounce back from his setback.
“The ban will hurt him. He will be down at the moment but I saw what he said after the ban, that everyone is supporting me and I will come back stronger. So that is a big positive, that he is determined to make a comeback because once he is thinking that he has to come back then he will work harder to win his place back in the Indian team.
“He is very strong mentally because at a young age he has gone on to play for India. You can’t achieve all that he has achieved if you are not mentally strong,” Samant said.
One piece of advice he wants to give Shaw, who has been a habitual offender in the last few months, is to learn from his mistakes and not repeat them.
“I want him to learn from his mistakes and not repeat them in the future. He has to be very focussed, more than what he has been in the past. It is very difficult to win your place back in the Indian team once you are out because you have so much competition. He is very young and he has the time in his hand to get his career back on track,” he said.
Samant believes that greats like Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar are always available to help out Mumbai’s players and it won’t be long before either get on Shaw’s ears and help him sort out his mindset.
“Mumbai players, past and present, are always willing to help each other. I know Sachin Tendulkar has spoken to him in the past and I am sure if need be, in the future also he will again talk to him and advise him. Sachin has always been available for Mumbai’s players and constantly guides them through pep talk and all and even former greats like Sunil Gavaskar Sir and Dilip Vengsarkar Sir,” he said.