‘Earlier, Prithvi Shaw would go after every ball’

Eighteen-year-old Prithvi — who scored a hundred on Test debut against Windies — has cut down on aerial shots, says coach Raju Pathak.

Prithvi Shaw en-route to his maiden Test century on debut against the West Indies.   -  Getty Images

When Prithvi Shaw was in the third standard, Raju Pathak had to pull him out of the kids’ nets after three balls. That was enough to gauge his mastery. The youngster had earned a double promotion in the Rizvi Springfield High School cricket camp in Bandra, and at 14, came the maverick innings of 546 off 330 balls in a Harris Shield Game.

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Prithvi Shaw is held aloft by his team-mates after he scored a record-breaking 546 in a Harris Shield match in 2013.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

 

On Thursday, the 18-year-old Shaw became the youngest Indian to score a hundred — 134 off 154 balls against West Indies in Rajkot — on Test debut.

Springfield coach Pathak was relieved to see his ward play risk-free cricket. “It was a confident knock, a good innings. Woh hr match mein hi maarta hai (strokeplay comes to him naturally in every game), but he has controlled his game now. Earlier, he would go for every ball,” he told Sportstar.

“The aerial shots that he used to play, like the cut over point, have reduced. He tries to stick to ground shots. Zyaada aadha tera khelta nahi (he doesn’t go bonkers),” added Pathak, who feels Shaw has finally learnt to play according to the merit of the ball. “We spoke two days ago and I told him if he gets a chance, he shouldn’t let it go, and that’s what he did.” 

2016 – year of change

Two years ago, Shaw wasn’t getting runs in junior cricket and he asked Pathak for solutions, who educated him on the psychological aspect of the game. “I told him that cricket is not about going after every ball. He was getting out in the 20s and 30s. He needed to build his innings. He is a fast learner, you don’t need to tell him for long. Now, he doesn’t play risky shots. He is a god-gifted player,” he said.

'Hopefully Prithvi won't get many tons this series'

Shaw also travelled to England for the last two Tests, but missed out on an overseas debut. Pathak, however, refuses to undermine West Indies — a weaker opponent. “Wherever he gets a chance, it is good. He has delivered and proved he is capable.”

Springfield showcased an improvised version of the Bombay style of batsmanship since its inception. Its players struck a balance between the traditional defensive mould and the 360-degree shot-making. And perhaps that’s why, Shaw can tear apart any bowling attack. “He has one speciality. At times, he would also punish a very good delivery. He has that habit.”