A Shaw causing awe!

Having already been elevated to the India A level, Prithvi is constantly striving to improve his performance and earn the India cap soon.

India Under-19 cricket captain Prithvi Shaw and coach Rahul Dravid at a press conference in Mumbai prior to their departure for the U-19 World Cup in New Zealand. Dravid thinks very highly of Shaw.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

Javed Rizvi, the chief of the Rizvi Education Trust, felicitates Prithvi Shaw. Coach Raju Pathak is on the right.

AGE: 18

FROM: Mumbai

EDUCATION: Pursuing HSC (Standard XII)

DISCIPLINE: Cricket

THE BEGINNING: Just like a majority of children in India, soon after he started taking babysteps, Prithvi was offered a plastic cricket bat and a ball as one of his first toys by his parents. The boy, at his tiny home in Virar, a far-off western suburb of Mumbai, took to the bat like a duck to water, which resulted in him being a regular at the municipality ground at a tender age of four. Thanks to his prowess with the bat, in about four years from there, the boy made a swift move to the famed Mumbai maidans.

While his early morning train rides had extended to the MIG Club in Bandra, the ground where a certain Sachin Tendulkar used to be a regular during the latter half of his glorious career, Bandra-based Rizvi Springfield, one of the powerhouses in Mumbai school cricket, latched on to him. It didn’t take long for him to move to Santa Cruz, closer to the action on the maidans.

The move to Rizvi was followed with tons and tons of runs, first on the school circuit and then for Mumbai’s age-group teams. His hunger for runs and ability to score off even good balls resulted in the opening batsman being handed a first-class debut during the Ranji Trophy semi-final against Tamil Nadu in January 2017. And the opener marked it with a sensational century. It was followed by a call-up to the India Under-19 squad and a century on Duleep Trophy debut. Considering his prowess, on the insistence of India U-19 coach Rahul Dravid, Shaw was released for Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy campaign. An impressive Ranji season fetched him three hundreds and Shaw will now lead India in the Under-19 World Cup from January 13 in New Zealand.

FATHER: Pankaj Shaw is a garment manufacturer: “Dad,” is the immediate response of Prithvi when asked about the person he discusses cricket the most with. “Not just cricket, even life,” he adds after a pause. With Prithvi having lost his mother very early in life, Pankaj devoted his life for his son’s cricket. At times, he pushed him to take a train at 4.30 a.m. every day in order to reach the MIG Club in time for a hit in the nets. He even ignored his business at times to help Prithvi realise his dream. “I am just happy that all our hard work is paying off,” he says.

MENTOR: Raju Pathak is a master tactician on the Mumbai schools circuit. “There are a few batsmen who have to be carved, while some are God-gifted. Prithvi belongs to the latter category. I remember he must have been in third standard when he first came to my nets. The tiny fellow he was, I asked him to bat in the nets of players who were his age, but he insisted he wanted to bat against bowlers that were older than him. I didn’t budge, but after watching him bat for just three balls, I moved him to bat against bigger boys. Since then, he has been making a meat of bowlers who are much older than him. He is studious and has a sharp brain. Add to that his hunger for runs and he is almost a complete package,” Pathak says.

ACHIEVEMENTS: 2012: Toured England for two months under a student exchange programme and scored nearly 1500 runs

2013: Scored a record 546 runs from 330 balls in an inter-school tournament for Rizvi Springfield

2013: Captained Mumbai Under-16

2017: Scored a hundred on first-class debut, during Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy semi-final versus Tamil Nadu in Rajkot

2017: Was selected for India Under-19 for the limited overs series against England at home

2017: Scored a hundred on his Duleep Trophy debut in the tournament’s final

2017: Scored three hundreds in his first full Ranji season, thus tallying five first-class hundreds before turning 18

2017: Appointed captain of India Under-19 for the next Under-19 World Cup

AIM: Having already been elevated to the India A level, Prithvi is constantly striving to improve his performance and earn the India cap soon. The 18-year-old realises that he needs to work on his fitness and fielding to ensure he is not found wanting at the highest level.

STRONG POINT: “Adaptability. That’s his strongest point. If you try and teach something to a kid, if an average kid takes 20 to 30 balls to get the skill, Prithvi will master it in two to three balls. That’s his biggest strength so he can change his plans in a match according to the opposition without much of a trouble. And the fact that he can score off even good balls makes him stand out,” says Pathak.