Former Sri Lankan batsman Russel Arnold believes India’s opener Prithvi Shaw could outdo everyone and be the difference between winning and losing in the upcoming limited matches between India and Sri Lanka. Arnold said India has Shikhar Dhawan and Hardik Pandya by his side, but will think outside the box and name Shaw as the player to watch in the three upcoming ODIs and three T20Is.
âFor Sri Lanka, I will go with Avishka Fernando at the head of the order. Let me think outside the box with India. Of course, you’ll be watching Dhawan and Pandyas to play, but I think Prithvi Shaw might get away. Fortunately, he will prove me right by entertaining everyone, âsaid Arnold when asked to name the game changers for both sides.
Shaw, who is likely to be paired with Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the order for India at the inaugural ODI in Colombo on Sunday, is looking to hit the reset button on his international career.
The talented right-hander, who started his testing career with 100 in his debut against the West Indies, has been dropped after failing in the first test against Australia. Its shortcomings in relation to inbound deliveries have been exposed.
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Shaw, however, worked on his stick and came back strong to the Vijay Hazare Trophy. The right-hander broke a record 827 races in 8 games at an average of 165 to lead Mumbai to the title. The fact that these races achieved a strike rate of 138.29 speaks volumes about his destructive nature as an opener.
The subtle changes in technique also came in handy. His bat was coming down much straighter, his head was still at the point of contact and his front foot was non-binding. Shaw wore the same form for Delhi Capitals in the IPL before a virus outbreak postponed the tournament until September.
Arnold feels ‘jealous’ of strength from India bench
Much has been said about India sending a team without Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Japrit Bumrah, Rishabh Pant and Mohammed Shami to Sri Lanka. 1996 World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga even called it an “insult” to his country. Arnold, however, said he was jealous that India had all these young cricketers to support their big stars.
“I’m just jealous that India has these cricketers. Even this team, we’ve seen them play. We’ve seen the quality that they bring. There’s also a lot of experience in Shikhar Dhawan, the Pandyas, spinners Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav There are a lot of exciting prospects, âsaid Arnold Hindustan times.
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The Indian Limited-Participation Team in Sri Lanka has up to six uncapped cricketers – Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Nitish Rana, K Gowtham, Varun Chakravarthy and Chetan Sakariya.
âWe also know young people and what they can do. The question for the Indian team would be whether these young people can really play alone knowing that there is no cushion from Rohit or Virat. Can they take the next step? It will be exciting to see. Like I said, I’m jealous that India is actually in this position (to have so many quality players), âArnold added.
The former mid-order batsman said India can win a lot more games if they can keep their top players cool by putting together two separate teams of the same quality.
âYou have to look at what’s going on in the world. The amount of cricket that is played, the quarantines, the bubbles, the players are forced to strain mentally. It’s hard for them. If India can do that sort of thing, then its players will be fresh. Their talent pool will always be there and they can always continue to win and entertain the fans, âsaid Arnold, who is on the Sony Sports Network comment panel.
Asked which Indian cricketers can claim the Indian team for the T20 World Cup later this year, Arnold said hunger will separate men from boys.
âWe saw them do special things. There is Padikkal, Gaikwad. When you look at the stick, there is a lot of talent. Will they see it as an opportunity and will they push the seniors? It depends on what you have and what you want to prove. You can sit back and think that I’m part of it, I have my chance and that’s good, that attitude won’t get you far. Hunger is what will make the difference. It is difficult to give names at the moment because we do not know who is going to play in the big 20 team. But whoever plays, we know, can be dangerous, âhe added.
(Watch ODI 1 July 18, 2021 LIVE on SONY TEN 1 and SONY SIX in English from 3:00 p.m. IST)