Can Prithvi Shaw follow the Sachin Tendulkar way in the ODI series against New Zealand?
India will play a three match ODI series against the Kiwis starting from the 4th of February. The Men in Blue will be missing the services of Shikhar Dhawan, who has been ruled out from the series due to injury. Dhawan’s injury has opened the door for another man, the supremely talented Prithvi Shaw. The 20-year old batting sensation has been drafted into the squad for the ODI series against the Kiwis.
Shaw is a prodigiously talented cricketer, a man who has been in the limelight even before he has played an ODI for India. And in all probability, the prodigy will get a chance to make his debut against the Kiwis in the first ODI.
Almost 26 years back, the world got a glimpse into the land of the impossible in the form of the then 21-year old Sachin Tendulkar. The regular opener Navjot Singh Sidhu had been ruled out of the match due to a sprain in the neck, and Tendulkar pleaded with his captain and coach to give him ‘one chance’.
And, the master came out and blasted the New Zealand bowling attack, scoring a sensational 82 off just 49 balls. The bowlers were taken to the cleaners, as Tendulkar used the bat in his hand like a wand, playing shots of ethereal beauty.
And after that innings, the rest was history. Tendulkar went on to play for India for two decades, amassing runs all over the world, thwarting challenges, and achieving every single accolade that the game had to offer.
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But then, the beginning to all those super human feats was the chilly day in Auckland in 1994……
And, the similarities do not end there. Tendulkar made a stellar debut in domestic cricket, scoring hundreds in his Ranji Trophy and Irani Trophy debuts. And Shaw too, at the age of 18, scored hundreds in his Ranji and Duleep Trophy debuts. Let us go on further...
Tendulkar first came into the limelight when he smashed 326*, and shared a mammoth 664 run partnership with his partner in crime, Vinod Kambli. And, three decades later, Shaw started grabbing the eyeballs after he started making waves in school cricket, courtesy a magical 546 as a tender 14-year old.
In fact, Tendulkar had already predicted a decade ago that Shaw would play for India one day. This is exactly what the master had to say about Shaw.
“Ten years ago, one of my friends asked me to take a look at a young Prithvi. He asked me to analyse his game and see if there anything he could work on. I had a session with him and gave a couple of pointers on how to improve his game. I told my friend later that he is going to go on and play for India.”
In fact, even many former legends are of the view that Shaw's batting style very closely resembles that of Tendulkar's. This is what former Australian cricketer Mark Waugh had to say.
"The first thing you notice is his technique, it's very similar to Sachin Tendulkar. His grip, his stance, he stays very still at the crease and plays all his shots around the wicket. He plays the ball quite late and is quite punchy in his stroke play and has an excellent base to play any shot from any bowler. He's just so much like Sachin."
West Indian bowling legend Courtney Walsh was also of the view that Shaw reminds him a lot of Tendulkar and Gavaskar. After Shaw scored his maiden hundred in Test cricket, this is what Walsh had to say.
It reminded me of a few other Indian guys I have seen like Sunil [Gavaskar] and Sachin [Tendulkar] when they were young, probably because of his height and stature. He's down there and he plays the cut shots pretty well."
Now, in the year 2020, Prithvi Shaw is blessed with a similar opportunity. Like Tendulkar, he is blessed with immense talent. Like Tendulkar, he is a child prodigy. And like Tendulkar, he is all set to open the batting against the same opposition, New Zealand.
Can the batting sensation make it count? Can he too, give us a peep into the land of the impossible, just like Tendulkar did?
Published 02 Feb 2020, 10:07 IST