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Prithvi Shaw has bigger things in store, say mentors, praising India’s ICC U-19 World Cup win

Prithvi Shaw seems to be making all the right impressions at the moment -- from his captaincy to his batting and fielding, everything went in his favour as he skippered Indian U-19 cricket side to a record fourth ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup title.

cricket Updated: Feb 03, 2018 15:57 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal & Rajesh Pansare
Sanjjeev K Samyal & Rajesh Pansare
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup,Under-19 Cricket World Cup,Prithvi Shaw
Indian U-19 cricket team captain Prithvi Shaw (C) greets fans during a victory parade holding the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup Trophy at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Saturday.(AFP)

It was moment of pride for the Mumbai cricket fraternity when Indian U-19 cricket team skipper Prithvi Shaw lifted the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup trophy after beating Australia at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, on Saturday. (IND v AUS highlights)

“I am quite impressed with Prithvi. He is very matured for his age, he led the team well. Shubman Gill also looks very good. Prithvi, Shubman and Nagarkoti are ready for the India A team,” said former Mumbai and Indian cricket team captain Dilip Vengsarkar. (IND v AUS scorecard)

Pravin Amre, now the head of Talent Hunt at Indian Premier League (IPL) side Delhi Daredevils, Shaw had already proved his batting credentials with four first-class 100s in his first five matches. Arme is impressed now with the way the Mumbai batsman led the U-19 team in New Zealand.

“As a player he had proved himself but there were question mark over his leadership qualities. I’m really happy with the way he led the team and also performed with the bat,” said Amre.

“In the first match against Australia he set the tone with his knock. And even in the final he set the tone as chasing a small total, you need strong start to the innings. Overall, he had command over his boys, and it was evident in the way he led from the front. It’s a very happy moment for us as we have seen him since he was a 10-year-old kid playing school cricket,” added Amre, who was the one who suggested to Daredevils management to get Shaw on board during the IPL auction.

Shaw seems to be making all the right impressions at the moment. From his captaincy to his batting and fielding, everything went in his favour as he skippered India to a record fourth ICC Under-19 World Cup title.

Rough patch

However, just two years back, he was left out of the Mumbai Under-19 team. Instead of being bogged down, he took it as a challenge, worked on his game, and has not looked back since then.

“He was not in the Mumbai Under-19 team selected for the Dhruv Pandove Trophy. That I feel was the turning point, as he smashed three straight hundreds in the selection tournament and forced his way into the U-19 team for the rest of the season,” said Shaw’s school cricket in-charge, Raju Pathak, who has seen the player develop at the Rizvi Springfield High School, where he joined as third standard student.

In the intensely competitive junior cricket arena in Mumbai, Shaw was just another promising talent till he smashed the inter-school record of the highest individual score with an innings of 546 against St Francis D’Assisi in 2014. “That made everyone sit up and take notice, it brought him into the limelight,” added Pathak.

Guru Gupte, who was a Mumbai junior selector when Shaw played age-group tournaments, said: “First time I saw him at the ELF Cup under-12 tournament and he had wonderful class. We promoted him straight away to the under-14 side. When he was 16 we straightaway promoted him to the under-19 side.”

Shaw’s development as a player also had something to do with the strong competition he faced from the likes of Sarfaraz Ahmed and Armaan Jaffer -- both from Rizvi Springfield.

However, four years back, when we had asked Mumbai junior selector Sanjeev Jadhav at Bandra’s MIG Ground (where Shaw was playing a game), the long-serving selector had no doubt about who had the potential to become a future star. Pointing to Shaw, Jadhav said: “He is the one to watch out for.”

Cutting off the weakness

However, there was one weakness which the local bowlers were exploiting at that time -- Shaw’s cut shot. A natural attacking player, he was getting out caught playing the uppish cuts. “He cut out on that and the big innings started coming,” said Pathak.

Now, Shaw has gone a step further and mastered the cut shot.

The other area was fielding. His father got him a professional fitness trainer and the difference is remarkable. His slip catching in the semifinal of the Under-19 World Cup against Pakistan was a proof of the improvement.

But to reach this stage, Shaw and his father Pankaj, who let go of his flourishing business to focus on his son’s cricket, had to go through years of hardships -- travelling through crowded Mumbai locals, making those long journeys to Mumbai maidans from the suburb of Virar, surviving on meagre savings.

Those sacrifices paid off handsomely and the family will soon move into their new home on Juhu Tara road when Shaw returns, the house-warming gift being the ICC U-19 World Cup trophy!

First Published: Feb 03, 2018 15:48 IST