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Focus on Prithvi Shaw as India & West Indies face off again

by Wisden Staff 4 minute read

Prithvi Shaw made the cricketing world sit up and take notice of his prodigious batting talent in his debut Test innings in the first of India’s two games against the West Indies.

The 18-year-old, who opened the batting with KL Rahul, scored a 154-ball 134 to become the fourth youngest cricketer to notch up a century on Test debut. His was an innings of flair and style, and he was adjudged the Player of the Match for his role in India’s emphatic victory in the game.

West Indies are batting first in the second match in Hyderabad, but there was a fair bit of focus on Shaw in the lead up to the Test – can he do it again?

“I am sure our guys would have learnt quickly from what happened in the first Test and we will know some of the strengths of the young Shaw, who really took us apart early in the game. I am sure we will learn from our mistakes in the first game and move on smartly in the second game,” said West Indian all-rounder Roston Chase ahead of the Hyderabad Test.

“We had a long chat after the (first) match and we came up with some plans … we have a better idea of what we are looking to do against him now.”

Shaw, who also scored centuries on his first-class debut, is thought of as the ‘Next Sachin Tendulkar’ for following a similar graph as the legendary Indian batsman so far. As a comparison – Tendulkar played Test cricket after nine first-class outings; Shaw had 14 before his debut, the second lowest number. The expectations, and sense of anticipation, are on the rise.

“I don’t think he should be rushed into anything yet because you need to give a youngster a space to grow, in his own abilities,” said Virat Kohli, the India captain, on Shaw’s immediate future.

“This guy is supremely talented and he has got great ability, as everyone saw. We definitely think that he has what it takes to play at the highest level and he has shown that in his first game already. He is a keen learner, a very sharp guy. We all are very happy for him, but I think we should not compare him to anyone yet or put him in a space where he starts feeling pressure of any kind.”

Virat Kohli was "head and shoulders above everyone else", said Dravid

“We all are very happy for Shaw, but I think we should not compare him to anyone yet”

Shaw slammed a 330 ball-546 for his school as a 14-year-old and has not looked back since then.

The youngster was drafted into Delhi Daredevils’ squad for IPL 2018 after his batting and leadership helped India win the Under-19 World Cup in February this year.

To follow up on his World Cup success, the teenager smashed 245 runs in the IPL in just nine innings, and then was called up to the Indian Test squad after impressive performances for India A, both home and away.

Shaw emulated Kohli by leading India to the Under-19 World Cup title in 2018

Shaw led India to Under-19 World Cup glory in February 2018

The Test debut was only a matter of time, and after racing to his century against West Indies off just 99 balls, the 18-year-old earned plaudits from Tendulkar himself.

“However talented the guy is, there is always a question mark. And a century kind of seals it. The figure is magical. Everyone starts thinking differently,”  said Tendulkar to the The Times of India.

“As far as I am concerned, the first hurdle that he was going to encounter is out of the way now. It cements your spot in the team and helps you announce to the world that you belong here.”

“Whatever I have seen of him, he’s been a fast learner. To me, being talented is one thing but what you do with that talent becomes more important. If you want to succeed at the international level you’ve got to be a fast learner. And Prithvi is a very good learner.

“When somebody has to perform and sustain at this level, and play cricket at different grounds and conditions across the world for a long time to come, adaptability becomes the critical factor. I feel he has the knack to adapt to different situations and conditions. To me, that is Prithvi’s biggest strength.”

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