After Prithvi Shaw and Sarfaraz Khan both performed poorly in the first two games of the IPL 2023, Ajit Agarkar has spoken out in their defence. After losing badly against the Lucknow Super Giants and the Gujarat Titans, the team’s top-order batting performance came under close scrutiny.
Shaw, who opened his Test career with a century, scored only 19 runs in his first two innings. Slightly better off was Sarfaraz, who scored 34 runs but needed 34 balls to do so. The Mumbaikars had trouble with top-tier speed attacks, losing both matches. Agarkar, however, was reluctant to single out any one player.
“They’ve (Prithvi and Sarfaraz) made runs in the past and in general. We are talking about a guy who has scored a century on his Test debut. I don’t think we batted well, so why point out one or two guys? None of our top-order batters did well. Really no one got going. We’ve not begun at the top in both games as other teams have, and you can see the difference. So there’s no point picking individuals. Collectively, we’ve not been good enough on both nights, and you need to improve because you’re playing against some good teams. So credit to Gujarat, but, you know, we need to improve collectively as a batting unit to get better results,” said Ajit Agarkar in the post-match press conference.
Agarkar recognised that the team’s performance in the first two games was subpar and he emphasised the importance of a collective improvement from the batting unit. Shaw’s problems were viewed differently by former Indian opener Virender Sehwag, who pointed out that Shaw’s rivals had made significant headway. Sehwag named Ruturaj Gaikwad (who scored 600+ runs in the IPL 2021) and Shubman Gill (who was also on the India U-19 squad) as examples.
Shaw and Sarfaraz, according to Agarkar, have done this previously and just need to acclimatise to the IPL’s high standards because they are veterans. He was still optimistic that the club would come together as a unit and produce better results in the forthcoming games.