February 6, 2018
Prithvi Shaw, captain of the 2018 ICC U-19 World Cup winning Indian side, has put the gentleman’s game on notice, yet again.
His journey from the Shivaji Park in Mumbai to Oval Park in New Zealand, has been nothing short of cinematic brilliance. While, the likes of Shubman Gill, Manjot Kalra, Kamlesh Nagarkoti were thrust into the limelight, it is almost as Prithvi was born in it, moulded by it.
The year was 2013, late November, a 14-year-old from Rizvi Springfield was making history as an unprecedented crowd grew larger by the hour at the Baronet Club’s ground on the eastern edges of Azad Maidan.
Harris Shield, arguably Indian cricket’s most famous junior cricket tournament, had unearthed yet another star. By the time play ended, Prithvi Shaw had scored 546 off 330 balls against St. Francis D’Assisi to enter his name into the record books. He had led his school, Rizvi Springfield, to two Harris Shield titles in 2012 and 2013.
His exploits in the school circuit led to a trip to England, where he played for Manchester’s Cheadle Hulme School. He scored a century on debut, finishing his two-month stint with 1,446 runs. Closer home, he made his first-class debut for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy semi-finals and scored a match-winning century. In his first List A game as well, he had notched up another century.
As the legend of Prithvi Shaw grew, he was bestowed with the responsibility of leading India’s charge in the 2018 ICC U-19 World Cup in New Zealand. He led from the front, scoring 261 runs in the six games – 94 vs Australia, 57 not out vs Papua New Guinea, 40 vs Bangladesh and 41 vs Pakistan.
But, the most telling aspect of his growth, came in the form of his captaincy and the manner in which he lead himself and the team off the field. The young boy from Virar, was now a man of the world.
“It is all about experience, when you are 7-8 years old you start playing school cricket and score runs, my coaches from school level to Rahul Dravid sir now, all those small things, the experiences make a difference,” Prithvi said at a press conference.
The journey, in his own admission, was not easy. After landing in Mumbai on Monday, he credited his father for helping him through this “difficult” path. Waking up daily at 3.30 in the morning to start his journey from Virar, on the outskirts of the Mumbai, to Bandra in the heart of the city by ‘train’.
“It was a difficult journey for me starting where I used to live in Virar. All credit to my dad, he was the one who took me (everywhere). He used to take me to match practices and it was far away from my home in Virar,” he said.
“It used to take two hours, the journey in the train and it was difficult in those days. In the past two-three years I am working hard to play for India Under 19.”
The next challenge for the now 18-year-old champion, is the Indian Premier League. He was bought by Delhi Daredevils for Rs 1.20 crores. His Mumbai commitments in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and his responsibilities with the Under-19 team make for a very busy calendar.
But cricket can wait, at least, for now. A meal had been promised to him by his father at his favourite Chinese restaurant if India won the U-19 World Cup.