Prithvi Shaw set to go to New Zealand as third opener .

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Prithvi Shaw’s recent form has once again put him in reckoning for the third opener’s slot for the Test series in New Zealand in February.  Indian understands that Shaw might be part of the Test squad as the selectors are hoping he will continue his white-ball form in the longer format too. Shaw started off the first-class season with an elegant 66 against Baroda in the opening Ranji Trophy game.

Shaw is scheduled to be part of the India A team that will play two four-day games against New Zealand A just before the Test series begins. It’s learnt that three other Indian Test players will play the ‘A’ games in New Zealand, along with Shaw. Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Mayank Agarwal are the three who will play the second of the two ‘A’ games to get some quality practice in New Zealand conditions before the Test series.

The selection committee wants these three Test regulars to get at least two practice games before the Tests start. Aside from the ‘A’ games, the Indian team will be playing be a tour game.

“The selection committee is of the view that it’s better that Test specialists travel early to get used to conditions. It will help them get enough practice,” sources in the BCCI informed. India A will travel to New Zealand in the first week of January.

Shaw started his comeback in November in a Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy game after serving a back-dated eight-month suspension by the BCCI for failing a dope Test. He started off with a 39-ball 63 in that game, and has continued to be prolific.

“I will just keep scoring runs. It is all about the selectors and what they think. My job is to score runs and win games for the team,” Shaw had said then.

Once he returned to competitive cricket, Shaw also spoke about how he bounced back from the ban.

“I had never thought that something like this would happen. I was obviously upset. For the first 20-25 days after I was banned, I was not able to understand how did it happen. Time passed by. I went to London and chilled out there as I was not allowed to practise till September 15. After that I stabilised myself and kept myself mentally stronger by telling myself these three months would pass. But each day was hard, it was getting longer. It’s all past now.

“I think this period has been a big learning experience for me. Obviously, I committed a mistake. I had no idea what I was consuming,” he said. “In that period I was alone and was trying to stay away from people and their advice. I was telling myself that I can get out of this mess and be mentally strong.”

Shaw also talked about the role of Rahul Dravid, who is the head of cricket in Bangalore’s National Cricket Academy, in his comeback.

“After returning from London, Rahul (Dravid) sir called me to the NCA for training. There I went through a series of fitness tests like yo-yo. Under Rahul sir a lot of focus was on fitness. I had to clear all my fitness tests. What also helped was that during the nets good bowlers were available like Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) and Varun Aaron. Besides, Rahul sir was always there for guidance and mental issues.”

Recently, Shaw, 20, got raving support from Brian Lara, who picked him as a likely candidate to break his record of 400 runs in a single Test innings. “It will need an attacking option. I know he’s fell off the radar a little bit, Prithvi Shaw was one of those attacking options. Hey, here’s a 19-year-old who has the world in front of him, hopefully, he can come back soon.”

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