From a 105-minute Mumbai local journey to a flight to England: Prithvi Shaw's journey
November 20, 2013, the sun glaring down at the Azad Maidan in Mumbai, youngsters, with bright dreams in their eyes, took the field for a Harris Shield match. Mumbai's famous Rizvi Springfield battled it out against St Francis D'Assisi. Amidst all the clamour, a young 14-year-boy captivated the attention of the public. This 14-year old was the wonder boy, Prithvi Shaw.
In hot, humid November conditions Shaw batted for 367 minutes over two days, included 85 boundaries and 5 sixes. Most of his shots targeted the longer boundary as his preferred region was cover and deep square leg. Five years and many accomplishments later, Shaw still targets the cover region with his exquisite cover drives.
His inning in 2013 exhibited character, a character for the future, one which displayed his temperament. Surrounded by cameras and reporters, a young Shaw said "It is a good score for me and my team. Our coach just asked me to concentrate on every ball. The only plan was to score as many runs as we could. I wasn't thinking of a record, but it feels good."
Back to 2018, with India falling apart in the Test series against England, an 18-year-old Prithvi Shaw has made his way into the Indian Test squad for the last two tests. The ever-increasing list of Shaw's achievements has grown rapidly and therefore the comparisons with Sachin Tendulkar are inevitable.
In the past few months, Prithvi has led the Indian U19 side to World Cup glory in New Zealand. He earned himself an IPL contract and now he has earned an international call-up. The giant strides are an example of his calibre and talent. This is the beginning of a miraculous journey, a journey which began by travelling for 105 minutes in a Mumbai local train.
English conditions are a test of character
On India A's recent England tour Shaw played incredibly. He managed to provide a fantastic start alongside Mayank Agarwal as the other opener. Both of them were India A's most consistent players on the tour but does Shaw have the technique to counter the likes of James Anderson and Stuart Broad in England?
Prithvi Shaw's technique is similar to former Indian opener Virender Sehwag. Shaw doesn't move his feet, much like Sehwag. While driving through the covers his feet go back towards the leg side. Like Sehwag, Shaw loves to flirt outside the off stump and he slashes hard on the away going deliveries.
Instead of transferring his weight forward and meeting the pitch of the ball, he usually hangs back with his back leg often falling to the leg side. Despite this technical flaw, Shaw has scored 602 runs in his last ten innings in England. He scored at a decent strike rate and his exploits at the top transferred pressure on the opposition.
Rewinding the clock back to 2013, after his heroics Shaw said "It's too far ahead. For now, I am happy playing at this level and scoring the runs," he said. "Tendulkar is my idol in cricket and one thing I try to pick up from him is how he carries himself in a humble manner."
Time and change is inevitable, his comparisons with Tendulkar are still too far ahead albeit, he will join the test side as a confident batsman who'll leave a mark on Indian cricket in the next few years.