#IndiaInEngland: Is Prithvi Shaw's inclusion a smart decision?
The Indian squad, for the final two Tests against England, was announced moments after the visitors won the third match at Nottingham. Murali Vijay was dropped from the side and Kuldeep Yadav was asked to join the India A side. In came India's U-19 World Cup winning captain Prithvi Shaw and 24-year-old Hanuma Vihari. Is Prithvi's inclusion a good decision? Here we decode.
The question that pops up is if this is the right time to integrate Shaw into the senior squad. Shaw is a promising talent and has scored runs in domestic cricket, IPL and the recent India A games against West Indies A and England Lions. By including him, the selectors have made a bold statement that they are thinking beyond the current series.
Interestingly, the selectors have made an 'unpopular' move to overlook someone like Mayank to go for Shaw. This comes after Rishabh Pant was drafted into the side for the first three Tests. Pant showed character behind the stumps at Nottingham. And now with Shaw's inclusion, the management has shown that the side won't be hesitant to go for youth when required.
Shaw is unlikely to feature in the remaining two Tests, but his presence in the squad means he will gain invaluable experience while rubbing shoulders with the senior players. The management sees the likes of Pant and Shaw as future Indian players and giving them opportunity seems a wise decision. Shaw could be on the plane to Australia as the third choice opener next.
England, too, have given opportunities to the likes of Sam Curran and Ollie Pope in this series. Curran, in particular, has shown he belongs in the squad. So why not Shaw? The talented batsman scored debut tons in Ranji Trophy and the Duleep Trophy. After a splendid IPL, he amassed two tons versus West Indies A, followed by another century against South Africa A.
Shaw's rapid rise, like Pant, hasn't been overlooked by the top brass. Irrespective of age if one can plunder runs, there is a chance for them to feature in this squad. Shaw led the U-19 side with perfection and there are many players, of his age, that are being monitored by the board. A world class squad is always judged by its bench strength.
Shaw has 1,418 runs in First-class cricket from just 14 matches. He has already amassed 7 tons and has a stellar average of 56.72. The 18-year old will aim to keep getting runs, in order to be in the radar for the tour of Australia in 2018-19. This also puts 34-year-old Vijay's career in doubt. Comebacks, often, are difficult at this age.