Prithvi: ‘I like dominating the bowlers and I was trying that’

Mumbai teenager Prithvi Shaw, who smashed a hundred on Test debut against Windies on Thursday, said the Caribbeans bowled too many boundary balls.

Prithvi Shaw celebrates his hundred against West Indies in Rajkot on Thursday.   -  AP

 

When Prithvi Shaw was flown out to England for the last two Tests, there were speculations that the 18-year-old may be handed the Test cap in the overseas conditions.

But that did not happen. The team management went ahead with Hanuma Vihari, keeping the Mumbaikar in the bench. However, those few days with the Indian team was a learning process for the youngster as he got to know the stars and be friends with them.

So, when he actually made his debut for India at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Thursday, the pressure was far lesser on Shaw as he was already accustomed to the team environment. “I think I got a great experience over there sharing the dressing room with all the senior players, with all the stars, they made me very comfortable,” Shaw said after the day’s play.

No senior-junior divide

In England, coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli had made it clear that in the team, there wouldn’t be any firewall between the seniors and juniors. “There was nothing like a senior-junior (thing). Ravi sir and Virat bhai always told that there’s no senior or junior in the team, if you are playing for India, you are amongst us. That made me really confident and (took out) a bit of pressure,” the young gun said.

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Though he did not get to don the whites in England, Shaw got a tip or two from the senior cricketers — something that helped him immensely. “It was nice sharing dressing room with so many seniors who have already played 5-10 years of international cricket. They have got the experience, they used to share with me because of all these things. Everyone is like my friend in the team, we enjoy off the field, on the field we are together, feels great,” he said.

But then, would he have preferred playing in England?

Shaw admitted that he was ready for it. “It’s up to the coach and Virat bhai to decide on when to play me. But I was ready for the England series as well. So, I would have tried my best to perform well. Here I got an opportunity and I am happy about it.”

Dream run

Over the last couple of years, Shaw has been one of the most consistent performers in the U-19 and domestic level. And he agreed that there is a difference in playing the U-19 matches and India fixtures. “In international games, you don’t know your opponents much. They would have come with lot of strategies. The bowlers are very experienced in international cricket and there are a variety of bowlers which makes it challenging,” Shaw, who captained India’s World Cup-winning U-19 team earlier this year, stated.

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It has been a fascinating year for the youngster. “I feel this has been a great year, we won the (U-19) World Cup, the IPL debut happened, Test debut has happened too now. I have been consistent. I was going match by match, it wasn't a case of me thinking about international cricket after winning the World Cup. Whatever games came my way, I tried to give my best, do whatever I can to win matches for the team, be it at the Ranji Trophy level, India A, IPL, this was always on my mind,” he said, revealing that he would dedicate this century to his father, Pankaj Shaw.

“I want to dedicate this hundred to my dad, he has made a lot of sacrifices for me, he’s still doing it. He has been very helpful throughout my journey, whenever I have been nervous or have gotten out early, I can't list it out all, but he’s done a lot,” the young gun said.

While his family members and friends were present at the ground to witness his debut Test, his father stayed back in Mumbai. So, how was the chat with his father like before this game?

“My dad doesn’t know that much about cricket, but he has watched cricket for so many years. He was like just go out there, play how you play in your first-class match, your India A games, just go and enjoy your debut, no pressure at all. Obviously, on the other side, there will be some nervousness because I am playing my debut (Test). But dad was like just enjoy your game, give your best for the team, whatever happens, it is a different thing, but try to give your best and enjoy,” he said.

Matching legends

Quite like Sachin Tendulkar, Shaw too had a hundred on Ranji Trophy debut, a century on Duleep Trophy debut and now a ton on Test debut. But he doesn’t know how he managed to achieve such a feat.

“I don’t know how I managed to score centuries in my debut games. I try to play each ball on its merit. So, I came here with the same mindset. Just because it was my first Test, I didn’t want to do anything different. I wanted to bat like the way I was batting in the domestic competitions and India A tours. I was remembering those innings,” the batsman revealed.

But then, while walking to the ground, Shaw did feel nervous. “Obviously I was nervous, this was my Test debut. But after 10 overs, I was hitting the ball well and I was getting the boundaries. I got confidence and I didn’t feel the pressure. I wanted to dominate them as much as I could. I like dominating the bowlers and I was trying that. I was waiting for the loose balls and they bowled many boundary balls. So, I was trying to balance it out between playing the ball on its merit and attacking the loose balls,” said the Virar-bred boy.

He also batted for a while with Kohli. Was there any special advice from the captain? “When Virat bhai came to bat, obviously when a new batsman comes to bat he checks about what’s happening with the pitch, whether the ball is moving or not. So, he asked such questions. In between he even praised me as well,” Shaw pointed out.

As Shaw went on a rampage against the Caribbean bowlers, Tendulkar took to Twitter to congratulate the debutant. “Continue batting fearlessly,” wrote the Indian legend. And after a sensational start, Shaw would be hoping to take his idol’s advise even more seriously!