It has been 550 days since Prithvi Shaw last played for India.
The young talent, who burst onto the scene with a century on debut, quickly established himself as one of the brightest prospects in Indian cricket.
However, his rise was halted by an ankle injury and a doping ban, followed by poor form and disciplinary issues. Despite being drafted back into the team, Shaw struggled to secure a permanent spot in the lineup.
Despite his struggles, Shaw’s domestic performances were undeniable.
He set the domestic circuit alight with impressive performances, scoring 363 runs in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2022 and a mammoth 379 off 383 balls in the Ranji Trophy against Assam.
As a result, he was called up to the T20I team for the series against New Zealand.
However, Shaw’s wait for a place in the India Playing XI may be prolonged as Hardik Pandya, the Indian all-rounder, indicated that Shubman Gill will be the designated opener for India in the 1st T20I against New Zealand in Ranchi on Friday.
Gill has been in incredible form, having already amassed over 550 runs this year. With Gill and Ishan Kishan set to open, Shaw is expected to warm the bench.
“No sir. Shubman has done really well so he will get the opportunity first. In fact, with him it doesn’t even come down to opportunities.”
“Shubman will start because the way he is batting, he will obviously be in the team.” Hardik said on the eve of the series opener.
This is bad news for Shaw who is seeing other batters establish themselves and move up the ladder.
New Zealand, who were whitewashed 0-3 in the ODI series, will be looking to redeem themselves in the shorter format.
In November, when India were in New Zealand, the Men in Blue took the T20Is 1-0, with one game getting washed out and the other abandoned due to rain.
But expect the BlackCaps to come out all guns blazing.
This is something even Hardik acknowledges.
Hence he is keen to go with players like Gill who are in top form instead of trying out some experiments.
Shaw will need to be patient and grab his chances when he gets an opportunity.