Mumbai opener Prithvi Shaw is likely to return to the squad as early as November 16, a day after serving his suspension for a doping violation. Shaw is expected to turn out for Mumbai in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, the Indian domestic T20 tournament. On July 30, Shaw had been handed a back-dated eight-month suspension by the BCCI for “inadvertently” consuming a cough syrup that contained prohibited substance terbutaline.
Coincidentally, the violation happened during last season’s Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, which was played between February and March this year. The BCCI had said that Shaw would need to serve at least half the ban period, which expires on November 15.
Shaw, who grabbed headlines with a century in his debut Test last October, has been mostly training at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru during his suspension. While accepting the BCCI ban, Shaw had said the he would return “faster and stronger” because he said cricket was “my life” and there was “no greater pride than playing for India and Mumbai.”
Now, Mumbai are providing Shaw that opportunity. Former Mumbai captain Milind Rege, who is the chairman of state’s ad-hoc selection panel, said that Shaw would “certainly” be considered for selection. Currently, Rege’s panel has announced the squad only for Mumbai’s first three matches because key players like Shreyas Iyer, Shardul Thakur and Shivam Dube are currently part of the India squad for the T20 series against Bangladesh. Mumbai will have played six of their seven group games when Shaw becomes eligible.
“He will be free to play from [November] 16, so of course he will be considered for selection,” Rege told ESPNcricinfo on Thursday. “I can’t make any commitment to whether he will be back, but we will certainly discuss his selection.”
Rege said he had spoken to Shaw already. “He is doing the right things. Physically he is fit.”
Asked why Shaw, who last played in the IPL in May, was on the selectors’ radar, Rege said Shaw had already proved he was a matchwinner in the little time he has played both for Mumbai and India.
“Shaw’s class is there, you see. He is a dynamic young batsman. So that will weigh heavily in his favour because he has scored runs for Mumbai in the last one-and-a-half years and he also did well in Test cricket till he went to Australia. There has been a gap. So he will again have to start once again.”
Rege said that despite his strengths, Shaw would understand he would need to compete for his place. Rege cited the example of Yashasvi Jaiswal, who is 17 years old, and has taken the opportunity to establish himself in Shaw’s absence with a successful Vijay Hazare Trophy.
“He will have to be fit again, There is nobody who can take his place for granted because there are others also,” Rege said. “Everybody needs to work for their place in the squad. There are some senior players who have done well last year and even this year but the youngsters are now really knocking hard on the door.
“We have Yashasvi Jaiswal , who scored quite heavily in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. He scored a double-hundred and two hundreds in the 50-over tournament. It is a happy position for Mumbai, but as a selector it is a tough decision to keep somebody out.”
Rege has been part of Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy winning teams multiple times. He has also served as a selector for three decades. Rege hopes Shaw has learnt his lesson.
“Now that he has learned a few lessons on what not to do, he will come back a stronger person. I am sure this has taught him a few things in life. He will have to be careful, he will have to concentrate on his cricket and he will have to probably look at it differently because mistakes, when they happen, have to be rectified. And I am sure Prithvi has learned from this.”