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‘We’re talking about Shaw, who got a 100 on Test debut’: Agarkar hits back after Sehwag’s ‘learn from Gill’ criticism

Delhi Capitals Assistant coach Ajit Agarkar defended his top order saying that it is not right to single out Prithvi Shaw and Sarfaraz Khan.

The struggles of Prithvi Shaw and Sarfaraz Khan against top-quality pace attacks have been the talking point in Delhi Capitals’ crushing defeats in IPL 2023 so far. Prithvi Shaw has scored 19 runs in his first two innings, while Sarfaraz has managed only 34 runs. Shaw scored only 7 runs against the Gujarat Titans while Sarfaraz scored 30 runs, but took 34 balls to get there.

Lucknow Super Giants beat DC by 50 runs in their first game before Gujarat Titans on Tuesday comfortably romped home by six wickets with 11 balls to spare. In both the games, the two Mumbaikars, who have been prolific batters at the domestic level, seemed to have struggled against the likes of Mark Wood (LSG), Mohammed Shami and Alzarri Joseph (GT), all of whom can bowl at 145 plus clicks, and generate movement and bounce.

In both of DC’s matches, Shaw was beaten by pace. Against LSG, he was cleaned up by Wood and on Tuesday, Shami hurried him with a short-pitched delivery. Sarfaraz too appeared all at sea against Wood, Alzarri Joseph and Shami. Delhi Capitals Assistant coach Ajit Agarkar, however, defended his top order saying that it is not right to single out Prithvi Shaw and Sarfaraz Khan.

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“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 Test debut. I don’t think we batted well, So why point out one or two guys? None of our top order did well. Really no one got going. I mean, in both games we’ve not begun at the top 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 group as a batting unit to get better results,” the former India pacer said in the post-match press conference.

“We just need to apply for better and better performances. So no, again, you’re talking about two people who got heaps of runs and there’s no doubt that there are different standards when you play domestic cricket and come to the IPL. But because you’ve got heaps of runs, you have been there before. It’s about adjustment and these guys have done it before. It’s not like they are playing for the first time. So we’re pretty confident that we get it right.”

Agarkar stressed the need for collective improvement from the batting unit. He had no qualms in admitting that DC were not good enough in the first two games. While Agarkar took a measured approach towards DC’s batting woes, Indian legend Virender Sehwag was much more damning with his take on Prithvi Shaw’s struggles reminding Shaw that his competitors have edged far ahead in the race, pointing towards Gill, who was part of the same India U-19 team, and Ruturaj Gaikwad, who scored 600-plus runs in IPL 2021 season.

“He has been dismissed playing those kinds of shots so many times…but he should also learn from his mistakes, right? Look at Shubman Gill, who played U-19 cricket with him and is now playing Test, ODIs and T20Is for India, but Shaw is still struggling in IPL. He has to make the most of this IPL platform and score runs. Ruturaj Gaikwad scored 600-odd runs in an IPL season. Shubman Gill also scored big runs. So even Shaw has to be consistent with his IPL scores,” Sehwag said in his conversation with Cricbuzz.

DC will next be in action against RR on April 8 and will be hoping for an all-round better performance.

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