Mumbai: About a year ago, Prithvi Shaw had admitted in one of the interviews that he was hesitant of playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Months later, was eventually picked by Delhi Daredevils (DD) for Rs.1.2 crore which was six times his base price. Come Wednesday, the 18-year would be called up to join the Indian team for the remainder of the Test series.
Not many years have gone by since he scored an admirable knock of 546 runs in 330 balls in a Harris Shield fixture. His coach from Rizvi Springfield School, Raju Pathak can only remember him as a kid who always had the nerve to achieve something.
“Bachcha hii yaad aata hai Prithvi toh. What he has done in the last six months or a year has earned him this place in the team,” he says.
What has Prithvi done in the last one year?
His debut for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy was when he made the news for the second time after the 548-run knock. It was a century in the semi-final against Gujarat. It was learned that evening, there is great potential yet to be unlocked from this opening batsman. Even in his debut for the Duleep Trophy, Prithvi scored a hundred for India Red.
Last year, in October, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) made its decision to hand him a chance to play for the Board President’s XI against New Zealand who were on tour then. A fierce Trent Boult opened the bowling for the Kiwis and Prithvi fought fire with fire with an innings of 66 in 80 balls.
Even Boult could not believe that he was bowling to an 18-year old, he said after the game. "He played very nicely. I think the ball swung around nicely at the start, and it didn't seem to trouble him," he said after the match. Prithvi continued his magic for India A against similar oppositions.
A few months later, in January, he lifted the Under-19 World Cup as the skipper. It was the time when the senior team was leaving for South Africa tour and both squads departed from Mumbai. Virat had expressed his thoughts on his then younger counterpart. “I have heard a lot about him and Ravi (Shastri) bhai has told me a lot of things about him,” he said before meeting the U-19 squad for advice and tips.
Even in the IPL, when he got his chance to play for Delhi, Prithvi was persistent. He scored 245 runs in nine games, a decent total for his first season. Rohit Sharma got 286 runs in 14 matches in the same season.
"It is good that he has an opportunity now. Ab aur aage jaayega toh achha lagega,” says Pathak.
“He has put in a lot of efforts. He had to go through a lot of struggles. Mehnat kaa fal toh achha hee rehtaa hai hai. He had the talent since he was a kid. The time he started to come (for coaching), we knew he will definitely play for India one day,” he further adds.
India A to India
It is not substantiated if Prithvi will get a chance in England or not but he undeniably has the knowledge of foreign conditions and bowlers. In the last two months, Prithvi has scored four centuries while playing for India A across all formats. One of those included a knock of 188 runs from 169 balls against West Indies A. “In the last six months, his time with India A has been really amazing. He has worked hard against different oppositions,” says Pathak.
It is a debut that we have been longing for and probably the selectors as well. Murali Vijay’s descending form and Prithvi’s “promising batting” could land him the opportunity. Going with his record of centuries on first appearances, it could well be a just another debut for Prithvi.