Opinion: Why it is too early to compare Prithvi Shaw with Sachin Tendulkar
Prithvi Shaw recently scored a hundred on his Test debut (in the first test against West Indies). He was even expected to do so as he had done the same on his Ranji and Duleep Trophy debut. Shaw, at 18 years 329 days, became the youngest Indian to score a century on Test debut and also became the second youngest Indian to score a test century -- Sachin Tendulkar being the youngest.
Shaw has been compared with Sachin since he was just 14-years-old. The debut hundred has just intensified the comparison that pleases cricket fans and has once again set tongues to wiggle about the emergence of a star like legendary Sachin Tendulkar. Earlier, the same was done for Virat Kohli.
The Master Blaster once held the record of the highest partnership of 664 runs in school cricket with his partner and former Indian batsman Vinod Kambli.
Like fellow countryman Sachin, Shaw came to the limelight from interschool cricket. At 14 years of age, he smashed 546 off 300 balls for Rizvi Springfield School.
Even though Sachin and Shaw have certain similarities -- such as the batting stance, grit, and getting into cricket at a very young age -- it will still be very early to compare Shaw with Sachin based on his debut Test hundred.
If we look at the age when the two scored their first test century -- it was 18 years 329 days for Shaw and 17 years and 112 days for Sachin. The difference between the two is of more than one year.
Prithvi Shaw's hundred came on the home soil, that too against the team that is ranked 8th in ICC Test ranking.
The current West Indies bowling attack -- comprising Sherman Lewis, Roston Chase, Keemo Paul, Devendra Bishoo, and Shannon Gabriel -- is one of their weakest ever. It is very hard for this West Indies attack to trouble Indian batting line-up, especially when they are playing at home. Shaw had no pressure on him as he came out to open knowing that Virat Kohli, Rahane, and Pujara are there to follow.
What added to release pressure off him was that the match was in India and West Indies was missing their star bowler -- Kemar Roach -- who left the series due to some personal reasons. Jason Holder was also out of the match as he was not fit. All these reasons helped the youngster in batting freely.
In contrast, Sachin's first hundred came against England and that too in Manchester, England. That English team was one of the toughest to face in that era of cricket, especially at home.
There was a lot of pressure on the Indian side as they were already one down in the Test series. In the second test, where the century came for Sachin, India needed 408 runs in the last innings to win the match. Sachin came to bat under an adverse condition with immense pressure on him. India were 127/5 when Sachin came to the crease.
With his maiden century, Sachin helped India to draw the match but it seemed like another defeat.
After Kapil Dev's wicket, Sachin added an unbeaten 160 runs partnership with Manoj Prabhakar to end the match in a draw. He stood strong for 225 minutes before the prolific English attack in the most difficult English conditions. Sachin was adjudged Man of the Match for his crucial unbeaten 119 runs inning.
What we can conclude from this is that the conditions were very different on both occasions and thus we can't compare the two different batsmen of the different era, at least for now. We should just wish the 18-year-old for his ton as Sachin Tendulkar himself did so through his tweet.