Ricky Ponting, the head coach of Delhi Capitals, believes the world will get to see the 'real' Prithvi Shaw in the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Shaw, who has been at the Delhi camp since 2018, may have made headlines more due to off-field incidents than on-field exploits in recent times, but Ponting is hopeful of the right-handed opener having his best IPL season ever this year.
"He's been here right from the start actually. He was training at the NCA and left there as soon as he could to come and join our training camps. He's worked harder and trained better than I've ever seen Prithvi Shaw leading into an IPL before. He's in better physical shape than I've ever seen him before."
"I spoke to him the other day about his attitude and the way that he's working and how things are going. I honestly feel this is going to be his biggest season ever in the IPL. He just has that different look in his eye this year. You can see that he is probably hungrier than ever."
"He has had some success for us. But I think you know the level of talent and ability that he's got, I think we're really going to see the real Prithvi Shaw this season," the Delhi Capitals coach said during an event here on Friday.
Ponting, the two-time ODI World Cup winning captain of Australia, expressed his happiness over Shaw putting in the hard yards during training ahead of the IPL 2023 season, while noting that the right-hander is in great space.
"In fact, he's done extra work every session since we've been here, whether it's been on his batting, his fitness or his fielding. So that's a great sign. As I said to him at the end of training two days ago, this game of cricket, if you don't pay full attention to the game, it'll take away from you. But if you put in and do the hard yards then the game will give back to you all the time. So, this could be a big year for him," he said.
Ponting had his issues with discipline as a youngster while he was trying to find his feet in international cricket. But now, as a coach, all he wants to do is get youngsters like Shaw be disciplined towards their game and work ethics.
"It was well-documented that I had some issues early on. But it's all about being true to yourself and wanting to be the best you can be. The one thing that I always say to our players is 'I don't like laziness and I don't like guys not utilizing the talent that they've got'," the coach said.
My job as a coach is if I can see that guys aren't working as hard as they should, they're not getting the most out of them, then it's up to me to try and change that. So it just seems to me that this season something has really clicked with Prithvi. He seems in a better space than ever before."
The 48-year old admitted that the attention a young cricketer gets in India is completely different from what it is in Australia, like grabbing massive eyeballs after just one good innings in the IPL. Apart from making young players the best cricketers on-field, Ponting elaborated on his vision to make young Indian players better human beings during the IPL.
"It's a lot different in our country than it is here. The thing about the IPL is seeing so many young players get an opportunity, but they may not be ready for it. I mean, they are ready for the cricket side of it, but a lot are not ready with what comes with that. Looking back at my career, that's probably the same with me. There wasn't as much spotlight on me as a young player as it is on some Indian guys, just through sheer numbers and media outlets," Ponting said.
"For me, it's about letting the players understand how big they are doing in the public side. As a player, you want to represent your team, franchise or country, but there's a bigger picture out there than just playing cricket. It's also about how everyone perceives you in the real world. The IPL is not real world for these players; there's a lot of other stuff happening out there that's easy not to think about.
My job is to make them better players, but at the end of the day, I want to make them better people as well. The better person you are, it is easier to be a better player. If you haven't got your personal life and everything off the field in order, it's really difficult to be a disciplined performer on the field. That's one of the things I try to teach because I have been there and done that," he concluded.
( 846 Words)