Sublime Prithvi Shaw shows his class on debut

The 18-year-old made his Test debut memorable by slamming a century off 99 balls.

Prithvi Shaw also scored the third fastest century on Test debut.   -  Vivek Bendre

For any batsman, it is a dream to start his Test career with a century. But in the game of glorious uncertainties, not many can live their dreams. But then, if you are Prithvi Shaw, you would go all the way to make things happen.

And the 18-year-old made his debut appearance in the Test arena on Thursday, with a fascinating century as India took upper hand on West Indies on the first day of the first Test at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.

As the temperature soared, making life tougher for the players, Shaw sizzled — becoming the 15th Indian cricketer to score a ton on debut.

Youngest Indian at the time of maiden Test hundred:

17yr 112d Sachin Tendulkar vs England in Manchester, 1990

18yr 329d Prithvi Shaw vs West Indies in Rajkot, 2018

20yr 21d Kapil Dev vs WI in Delhi, 1979

20yr 131d Abbas Ali Baig vs England in Manchester, 1959

One of the most consistent performers at the domestic level, the transition to the top level for the youngster has been seamless, by putting up a top-class batting display. Earlier in the day, he also became the youngest Indian to score a half-century on Test debut.

Coming in as an opener in the first-ever Test of his life, Shaw was composed and didn't put a foot wrong in his 99-ball hundred.

After the early exit of his opening partner, K.L. Rahul for a duck — Shaw made the most of the toothless West Indies bowling attack. Pairing with seasoned campaigner and local boy, Cheteshwar Pujara.

Taking advantage of a batting-friendly wicket, Shaw trusted his natural style. His father, Pankaj Shaw, chose to watch the match on the television back home in Mumbai. And Shaw made it a point to gift them a ‘perfect’ afternoon.

As Shaw dominated the West Indies bowlers, former Mumbai captain, Amol Muzumdar, who has seen the youngster from close quarters looked excited. “He has been the most talked about cricketer at the age of 18. He has played his natural game, irrespective of the opponent and the situation around. That’s his USP. This is a great example. Someone as young as him coming and batting this way, is unique,” Mazumdar told Sportstar.

Fastest 100s on Test debut (balls):

85 Shikhar Dhawan vs Australia in Mohali, 2013

93 Dwayne Smith vs South Africa in Cape Town, 2004

99 Prithvi Shaw vs West Indies, Rajkot, 2018

 

The Mumbai culture, known for Khadoos style of play has also contributed to his success. “I have always believed that you are a product of your environment. If he has a Mumbai background, then he has to go through the grind of maidan and school cricket. He is just a product of the Mumbai batting gharana and he is just carrying the legacy forward,” Mazumdar added.

He also credits the old coaches of Shaw for making him. “If you rub shoulders with the greats of the game (like Rahul Dravid), you obviously learn a lot. He must have learnt a lot. His earlier coaches have made Prithvi Shaw. Rahul has added a bit of finesse to his mental strength and that’s evident,” the former Mumbai captain said.

After reaching the magic figure, he raised his bat with the elaborate celebration missing, perhaps making it evident that come what may, he will stay focused.

Welcome to the Shaw show!