Prithvi Shaw takes off on his first step

While most teenage prodigies struggle to cope with the transition to first-class grade, Prithvi Shaw, at 17, marked his debut with a classy 120 for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy semifinal against Tamil Nadu.

R. V. Moorthy

Prithvi Shaw was the seventh opener that Mumbai tried this season and he justified his selection with a fourth-innings hundred against Tamil Nadu.

The bane that age-fudging has been to Indian sport, a majority of sportsmen – especially cricketers – who claim to be in their latter half of teenage usually shave their beard off before playing an under-19 game. But Prithvi Shaw is different. Not only do you see a boyish charm of a 17-year-old while speaking with him but the little strands of hair – the first signs of a teenager not too long from starting to use a zero machine – on his chin also don’t go unnoticed.

He referred to captain Aditya Tare as "Aditya dada" and Abhishek Nayar, the most senior in Mumbai's change room – as "Abhishek sir."

Shaw is different than most of India’s top under-19 cricketers, not only in appearance and demeanour but also in his batting skills. While most teenage prodigies struggle to cope with the transition to first-class grade, Shaw on Thursday marked his debut with a classy 120 for Mumbai. That it came in a high-pressured Ranji Trophy semi-final against Tamil Nadu indicates Shaw's temperament to succeed at this level.

The stakes were naturally high for Shaw. He had to fill the void for Mumbai at the top of the order. He was the seventh opener that Mumbai tried this season and he justified his selection with a fourth-innings hundred on semi-final's last day.

"I can say the selectors and coaches showed a lot of trust in me because I had come through the under-19 level. All these days I have been with the team all the senior players, coaches and selectors have put a lot of positive thoughts into my mind," Shaw said, proudly holding the made-for-television replica of the cheque for the man of the match in his hands.

He was caught on 99, only to be asked to continue after the TV replays showed Vijay Shankar had overstepped in his delivery stride. Shaw admitted that he didn't even know he was on 99.

"I didn’t know I was on 99, Surya (Yadav) came and said I needed three runs more to get to the hundred, and I wanted to take only a single with that shot. That was what I was trying. I absolutely had no clue I was 99, otherwise I wouldn’t have played that shot," he said.

When he got to the hundred, Shaw joined an august club of 15 other men, including several stalwarts of Mumbai cricket, who'd made centuries on their first-class debuts.

"I was very happy. Hundred on debut feels good; I would have been happier had I scored it in the first innings, but this still feels good," he said.

If he continues his flair with the bat, it won’t be long before he establishes himself as one of the dadas of Mumbai cricket.

Hundred on first-class debut for Mumbai

YEAR

BATSMAN

RUNS

OPPOSITION

VENUE

1902-03

J. G. Greig

204

Oxford University

Mumbai

1935-36

B. R. Patel

131*

Western India

Pune

1940-41

Khandu Rangnekar

202

Maharashtra

Pune

1947-48

Vasant Amladi

101

Sind

Mumbai

1947-48

M. M. Dalvi

150*

Sind

Mumbai

1947-48

P. J. Dickinson

122

Maharashtra

Mumbai

1951-52

Madhav Apte

108

Saurashtra

Mumbai

1967-68

Vijay Bhosle

129

Gujarat

Ahmedabad

1988-89

Sachin Tendulkar

100*

Gujarat

Mumbai

1990-91

Sameer Dighe

107

Gujarat

Mumbai

1991-92

Jatin Paranjpe

106

Gujarat

Surat

1992-93

Zubin Bharucha

100

Baroda

Mumbai

1993-94

Amol Muzumdar

260

Haryana

Faridabad

2007-08

Ajinkya Rahane

143

Karachi

Urban Karachi

2007-08

Prashant Naik

118

Karachi

Urban Karachi

2016-17

Prithvi Shaw

120

Tamil Nadu

Rajkot