Prithvi Shaw was 'unbelievable' in his Test debut, says Alistair Campbell

The former Zimbabwe skipper believes cricket's latest sensation, Prithvi Shaw, is destined for great things.

Campbell rates Virat Kohli as the best batsman in the world at the moment.   -  P.K. Ajith Kumar

Alistair Campbell was still in school when he was picked to play for Zimbabwe. At 20, the stylish left-hander was part of the African nation's inaugural Test against India in 1992.

An average of 27.21 from 60 Tests, however, belied the great expectations he had generated when he became the youngest First Class centurion of Zimbabwe; he scored more than 5,000 runs in ODI, though. The former skipper believes cricket's latest teen sensation, Prithvi Shaw, is destined for great things.

“What he did on his Test debut was unbelievable,” Campbell, a commentator for the Afghanistan Premier League here, told Sportstar. “I like his technique and the way he plays so late. He is mentally more advanced than his years. He has a level head on his shoulders. When you have a Sachin Tendulkar as mentor, you have good chances of succeeding.”

When asked to name the batsmen Campbell loved to watch, he said he could think of only Virat Kohli. “Whatever format you put him in, he delivers,” he said.

“He is the best batsman in the world at the moment. You would want to watch Kohli. You know he would pull something out of the hat.”

Talking of cricket back home, he admitted Zimbabwe was going through a tough period, especially with his former team-mate Heath Streak asking the court to liquidate Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) following its failure to pay him for his services as a coach.

“You don't want that to happen, especially with Streak, one of your iconic players,” said Campbell. “I am glad that the ICC has intervened and ZC has realised that it has to put its house in order. That should be the springboard - money has to be invested in infrastructure and development.”

Campbell, who had led Zimbabwe to the super six of the 1999 World Cup in England with stunning wins over India and South Africa, himself was in the eye of a storm when he was the managing director of ZC. He was accused of racism by former captain Prosper Utseya.

“That hurt,” Campbell admitted. “I feel sorry for the people who made that allegation. They were leveraged by people who felt threatened. As for Prosper, he was at the end of his career. I told him: 'you have to stop playing and think of coaching.'”

(The writer was in Sharjah recently at the invitation of DSPORT)