RANJI TROPHY FINAL, 2021-22
Shaw looks forward to reunion with his first domestic cricket coach © Cricbuzz
“After five years, I was finally able to make eye contact with Chandu Sir (Chandrakant Pandit),” laughed Prithvi Shaw when asked about the reunion with his first domestic cricket coach on the eve of the Ranji Trophy final, at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru , on Tuesday (June 21).
“It wasn’t like that in 2016-17 when I played. Everyone knows Chandu sir is a tough guy… We just talked for a few minutes – hello, maybe we’ll both get into the zone of the final, so yeah , don’t talk much (now).
He claims, “Winning the Ranji trophy is very important and getting back the happy moments.”
Shaw’s career has come a long way since he last played in the final of India’s apex first-class tournament – drafted as a 17-year-old in 2016-17, in just his second match. He now leads Mumbai in their pursuit of their 42nd title. The hard hitting opener admits that the former Mumbai coach, who heads Madhya Pradesh in just their second run to a Ranji Trophy final, will pose a challenge for his team.
“Five years ago, when I played the final, he was the coach. Playing against him in the final (this time) will be a challenge for us, for everyone who plays. It’s going to be fun.”
Like the team back then, which had no Test player in their ranks, the current side of Mumbai is also quite young and inexperienced. Except for Dhawal Kulkarni, no one has been part of a Ranji Trophy winning team.
“This is going to be a pressure game for everyone, it’s a young side,” Shaw admits. “Not a lot of them have played this kind of finals and are not that experienced. But I think they are ready for this. If we look at the batsmen that we have, we have a good, talented and skilled side. Hopefully, what they Now they can go on for one more game.”
After some nervous but classic comebacks from pressure situations in the competition phase, Mumbai dominated their opponents – Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh – in the knockouts, taking just 123.3 overs in two games and 30 wickets in them. Over the course of these two games, five of their top seven hitters have racked up at least a century, and the remaining two have two half-centuries to their credit.
The Mumbai captain praised the influence of head coach Amol Muzumdar for sharing his experience and keeping the team in a calm spirit, but praised the players’ effort, saying: “I am really proud of how hard they have worked from the league stage , and even in the training before that. I’m really proud of them for how far they’ve come. All I tell them is to get out there and enjoy it. Even for the youngsters on the team, I tell them it’s the same game is you have played in under-25 or under-19 it just gets a bit more challenging, level up you just have to go out and enjoy try and give one hundred percent for your team to me the result doesnt matter So much out – the way you put in your effort counts in the outcome.”
Of all the batters in form, Shaw is the only one who hasn’t won a century in knockouts, despite looking good. He brushed aside his personal concerns and said the focus was on the team’s performance.
“I scored a couple of fifties, but that’s certainly not enough for me. Nobody even congratulated me after scoring those fifty. So in that sense I feel bad too,” he said jokingly before adding: “But I glad my team is doing well as captain you have to accept that too – all 21 players i have here.
“It’s not just about me. In both cricket and life, the graph is always going up and down. It never always goes up. It’s just a matter of time before I get the ball back in the middle and that big one runs. Right now I’m just thinking about my team, make sure they take care of themselves.”