Kaif was part of DC’s support staff from 2019 to 2021. During this phase, he spent a lot of time with Shaw, trying to work on the youngster’s batting.
In an interaction with Sportskeeda, the 41-year-old shared a fascinating anecdote regarding the talented cricketer’s batting practice module. He revealed that he used to bowl underarm deliveries at Shaw before an IPL match. Elaborating on the tale, he said:
“I was with the Delhi Capitals for three years and got to spend a lot of time with Prithvi Shaw. He had this ritual where, before the match, I used to hold a new ball with the seam and throw it underarm towards him, below his knee. He would keep knocking it back to me.”
Kaif added that the DC opener skipped this practice for a while before getting out cheaply a few times. On what happened next, the former Indian middle-order batter recalled:
“One day, when I was having tea, a player came in and told me that Shaw was waiting for me outside. I ran outside and asked him what happened. So he told me, ‘please bowl underarm to me, I am not getting runs. I want to start this ritual again’.”
“I had to bowl underarm but with a straight seam” – Kaif on Shaw’s batting ritual
Kaif stated that the 22-year-old was very specific about the underarm balls being thrown with a straight seam and below the knee. Explaining the reason behind the same, he added:
“He was specific that I had to bowl underarm but with a straight seam and also below the knee so that the ball could meet the middle of the bat. He used to play 10-12 balls in that manner. He used to hit the ball back at me and get into a sort of batting rhythm.”
Asked if the restart of the ritual helped Shaw regain his batting form, the former DC assistant coach revealed:
“In the next match, he went in and scored runs.”
Concluding the interesting story, the 41-year-old said:
“After the game, we looked at each other and started laughing. We did not speak to each other, just made eye contact and I suggested that if a ritual is working, then don’t break it. He admitted that he had made a mistake and became lazy but assured that he would not repeat it. And he kept following the ritual after that.”
Shaw was part of the Delhi Capitals’ win over Mumbai Indians (MI) on Sunday. He scored 38 in 24 balls to get the team off to a brisk start while chasing 178.