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Is Prithvi Shaw becoming the Kylian Mbappe of cricket?

ANALYST
Feature
364   //    10 Oct 2018, 04:54 IST

England Lions v India A - Day Two

Cricket and football have been the most followed sports across the globe. Although there is a huge gap between how both these games have been played, numerous comparisons have been made with respect to the popularity of the game and a few players too. While football is more popular in the American and the European continents, cricket is the most followed game in Asian and Australian continents. Thus, these two games have always represented two different sets of cultures and people. Hence, any comparison involving these two games become very interesting.

In recent times, a new comparison has been on the rise due to the similarity of the career arc of two players so far. We have seen Virat Kohli-Cristiano Ronaldo and AB de Villiers-Lionel Messi comparisons in the past and the latest one is that of Prithvi Shaw and Kylian Mbappe.

Both Mbappe and Shaw are in their teenage years and already have a great reputation. While Shaw has been piling on the runs in the domestic circuit and recently with India, Mbappe has scored a lot of goals for PSG and his country-France and made a name for himself with by his exploits with AS Monaco.

While Mbappe holds the record for being the second most expensive transfer in football, it would not be a surprise if Shaw commands a record bid if he is put up in the future IPL auctions.

Paris Saint-Germain Training Session

It is also interesting to note that both the Mumbai lad and the Frenchman are being compared to the ultimate legends of cricket and football-Sachin Tendulkar and Pele. So far, they have had career stats similar to that of these legends, with Prithvi Shaw repeating the "centuries on debut" feat of Tendulkar and Kylian Mbappe becoming the only teenager after Pele to score a goal in the World Cup Final.

On comparing the playing styles, Prithvi Shaw's attacking style of play is similar to Mbappe's trademark fiery pace in offensive situations. Like the yesteryear legends, Shaw's scoring pattern has reminded us of Tendulkar and Mbappe's goals have shown a glimpse of Pele's heroics to the current generation. Both have also pulled out their teams from dangerous situations on many occasions.

In the Indian Premier League and French League, both Prithvi and Kylian represent the teams based out of the country's capital- Delhi Daredevils and Paris Saint-Germain respectively. Though Mbappe previously represented AS Monaco, this season was Shaw's first season in the IPL after having led the U-19 Indian team to the World Cup win.

The fact that both these have commanded huge popularity and fans even before their international debut has justified these early comparisons. Everyone expected them to shine for their country after analysing their performances in the domestic competitions. While Mbappe has exceeded his expectations, Prithvi is slowly on the rise and is sure to shine on the international level.

However, it should be noted that Mbappe is well ahead of Shaw in terms of achievements with the French forward having won a World Cup for his country this year. He has proved his talent at the highest stage with as many as three teams. Prithvi, on the other hand, has only recently made his debut. If Prithvi can repeat what Mbappe did in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the ICC World Cup next year, then India will likely be bringing home the trophy and another superstar will be born.

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