Mumbai’s teen batting sensation Prithvi Shaw’s maiden Ranji Trophy call up wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for Rahul Dravid’s encouraging words. The 17-year-old was on Wednesday drafted into Mumbai’s senior squad for the semifinal against Tamil Nadu which will be played at Rajkot’s SCA Stadium from January 1.
Dravid got first-hand glimpse of Shaw during the recently-concluded U-19 Asia Cup where India emerged triumphant.
Mumbai’s chief selector Milind Rege called up Dravid, India’s U-19 and India ‘A’ coach, before picking Shaw. “I also sought Dravid’s view and he had encouraging words for the youngster. He has been doing well at the junior levels for Mumbai and it was on his performances that he has merited a place in the Ranji team. We are in search of an opener since Akhil Herwadkar got injured and in Prithvi we see a hope.
“There is no harm in trying a youth because if he does well, it augurs well for the health of Mumbai cricket. This experience is only going to help him irrespective of whether he is in the playing XI or not,” Rege told Hindustan Times.
Shaw’s inclusion in place of Kevin Almeida is the only change in the 15-member Mumbai squad for the semifinal.
Shaw was included after his performances in India’s U-19 victorious campaign in the Asia Cup. Shaw impressed with his technique and shot selection in his maiden India U-19 tournament where he finished with third highest run-getter for India with 191 runs in five matches.
After Shaw’s 89 in the first match of the tournament against Malaysia, the Mumbai batsman was not able to convert his starts into big scores.
Shaw’s instant claim to fame was when he smashed a record 546 runs — the then highest score by any Indian batsman in schools cricket. Shaw, playing for Rizvi Springfield, smashed the record in a Harris Shield match at Azad Maidan.
Praise from all quarters was swift. Other forms of appreciation also followed some time later: Professional Management Group handed him a Rs 36-lakh contract and he toured England to play in the Yorkshire League under an exchange programme.
Mumbai squad: Aditya Tare (c & wk), Praful Waghela, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Siddhesh Lad, Abhishek Nayar, Shardul Thakur, Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Tushar Deshpande, Royston Dias, Sufiyan Shaikh (wk), Vijay Gohil, Akshay Girap, Eknath Kerkar, Prithvi Shaw.