The writing was always there on the wall. For the most part of his career, the youngster had always been compared to Sachin Tendulkar. Even before he turned 14, most of the country heard his name at least once, due to the many records he was setting. As Prithvi Shaw scored his debut test hundred in Rajkot, (the youngest Indian to do so on his test debut), we have a look at how the 18-year old came to be the player he is. Could Prithvi Shaw be the missing link in India’s underperforming batting order?
The young prodigy
Shaw had always shown an appetite for scoring runs. In November 2013, the 14-year-old came into prominence, when he scored 546 runs off 330 balls for his school, Rizvi Springfield, for which he was the captain as well.
The news strongly evoked the memories, especially among the older generation, of a 15-year-old player by the name Tendulkar who had played a similar innings for his school. Quite obviously, people already started comparing Shaw with him. And the teenager never disappointed them.
Consequently, he captained Rizvi Springfield to two consecutive Harris Shield between 2012 and 2013.
Innings in England
It was not only the Indians who had noticed young Shaw’s talent. After watching his performances, a school, Cheadle Hulme School in Manchester, England invited Shaw to play with them for a period of two months.
Shaw scored a staggering 1,446 runs during this stay, also scoring a century on the debut. He also made a string of appearances for a local club, High Lane cricket club.
Later, he regularly scored world-class knocks for many English schools and clubs until 2017. Those included the likes of Cryptics, Julian Wood cricket academy, Cleethorpes and Leicester among others.
Rising in the Indian Domestic Circuit
Along with shining in England, he actively participated in the Indian domestic cricket. On 25 February 2017, he scored a century on his debut for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy semi-final against Tamil Nadu. Coincidently, his debut century came at Rajkot, the place where he scored debut international test ton today. After his debut, he regularly featured for Mumbai in Ranji Trophy, Duleep and Vijay Hazare trophy.
In fact, in September 2017, he became the youngest batsman to score a Duleep trophy century, eclipsing a record previously held by Sachin Tendulkar.
Here is a list of runs he has scored in recent months for Mumbai: 102, 15, 188, 62, 136, 16, 98, 60, 129. The numbers itself symbolize the young batsman’s rise, especially considering that he was playing in a senior competition.
The International Triumph
Prithvi Shaw, quite naturally, was selected to lead India’s U19 side in the Asia Cup held in Sri Lanka. He successfully led the Indian team to the subcontinental title.
He then captained and led India to the 2018 U-19 World Cup title. Although it was Shubham Gill who won the Player of the Series award, the temperament with which Shaw captained the side was widely commended.
Everyone knew he was made for the big stuff, but his antiques at the Junior World Cup showed he was all ready for inception in the senior team.
Delhi Daredevils splurged a whopping ₹ 1.2 crores on a 17-year-old Shaw, raising many eyebrows. Although he had shown a lot of promise, most of his success had come from the sport’s traditional format – tests. Not in T20s.
But he returned the promise shown in him by playing some crucial IPL knocks for an otherwise hapless Delhi team. He scored 245 runs from 9 matches, with a strike rate of 153 and a high score of 65.
India tour of England
This year Shaw traveled with India on their monumental tour of England. This was his first call-up for the senior team. However, the selectors refrained from fielding a youngster in front of a highly experienced English bowling attack.
But one thing was clear from India’s crushing defeat in the tests there – India badly needed a reshuffle in their batting order. The opening partnership between Dhawan and Sharma had failed India. India’s overdependence on Kohli also was a topic of intense debate. India needed a new face, a new talent in the opening order.
India vs West Indies Test Series
As a result of their poor showing in tests, the opening duo of Sharma and Dhawan was rested for the two-match test series against West Indies. Instead, the selectors chose Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal. Shaw later opened the innings for India. Thereafter, there was looking backward for the former. Shaw scored 134 runs off 154 balls, with a strike rate of 87.00.
Some Records broken by Prithvi Shaw
Shaw, 18, reached his hundred off simply 99 balls, with 15 fours, to surpass the previous record set by Abbas Ali Baig.
Additionally, the opener is the fourth youngest player of all time to hit a debut ton.
Also, Shaw is the second youngest Indian to hit a century after Sachin Tendulkar.
Tendulkar was 17 years 112 days old when he hit his first Test century against England at Old Trafford in 1990.
The Master Blaster himself congratulated Shaw on Twitter:
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) October 4, 2018
Only time will tell if Prithvi Shaw will fill Sachin Tendulkar’s big shoes. But one thing is for sure, the future of the youngster and Indian cricket definitely looks bright.