Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
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Shaw, who is captaining the side in Rajkot with Ajinkya Rahane absent, hit 13 fours and nine sixes in his innings to help Mumbai post 230 for 3 after being put into bat. Friday's knock followed scores of 29 and an unbeaten 55 against Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram previously.
"I was disappointed. I am scoring runs, doing a lot of hard work, but not getting a chance," Shaw had told mid-day earlier this month. "But it's alright. When they [national selectors] feel I am ready, they will play me. Whatever opportunities I get, whether it is for India 'A' or other teams, I will make sure I do my best and keep my fitness levels up to the mark."
Over the past year, Shaw has slipped down the pecking order as far as openers for the national team go. He last played for India on the tour of Sri Lanka in July 2021 and hasn't come close to being picked since. Shaw also had a relatively lean IPL 2022 for Delhi Capitals, scoring just 283 runs in 10 innings, with two half-centuries. He also missed four games towards the end of the season due to typhoid.
In the time away, Shaw's red-ball stocks have fallen considerably, with the national selectors preferring Priyank Panchal and Abhimanyu Easwaran as the India A openers for the first-class games against New Zealand A. Shaw was also left out of the Rest of India squad for the Irani Cup that finished late last month. On his part, Shaw has used the time away to work on his fitness.
"I did not work on different things in my batting, but did a lot of fitness work," he said, when asked of the work he'd done during the off-season. "I worked on weight loss and reduced by seven to eight kgs after the last IPL. I spent a lot of time in the gym, did a lot of running, didn't consume any sweets and cold drinks. Chinese food is totally out of my menu now."
Since the start of this season, he's been in good form. Having begun with a bruising 113 for West Zone in their Duleep Trophy opener against Northeast, he followed that up with scores of 60 and 142 against a competent Central Zone attack, consisting of Ankit Rajpoot, Aniket Choudhary and Kumar Kartikeya, in the semi-finals. Then part of India A's one-day squad that played New Zealand A in Chennai, Shaw smacked a 48-ball 77 to help clinch the series.
"I am working hard on my game, fitness and performing consistently as well. Everything is on track, [but] let's see. I am not thinking too much about the future. Whatever opportunities I am getting, I am trying my best."