Prithvi Shaw has said that working with legends such as Rahul Dravid, Ricky Ponting and Sourav Ganguly has furthered his ability to ‘handle pressure’ and ‘tackle situations’ at the highest level.
The 19-year-old has already achieved a lot of success. After a prolific school career, he seamlessly transitioned into his state side Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy, India’s premier first-class competition. He has also earned a couple of Test caps. And in his crowning achievement so far, he led India to the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2018 title in New Zealand.
An elegant opener with impeccable timing, Shaw has made strong first impressions at every level he has played in. In his first-class debut, for Mumbai against Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy 2016-17 semi-final, he crafted a fabulous fourth-innings 120 to help his team chase down a tricky target of 251.
His India Under-19 captaincy debut was an outright success, as he led them to a 5-0 away ODI victory over England in 2017, before securing dominant victories over every opponent India faced at the Under-19 World Cup. Later that year, he made his Test debut, and scored a fluent 134 against West Indies in his first innings.
Shaw comes off as a technically sound player, full of self-belief and good judgement. Right through his journey, he has had the privilege of learning from the greats of the game. While playing for the U-19 team, he worked with Rahul Dravid, the head coach. Now, at Delhi Capitals in the 2019 Indian Premier League, he benefits from the presence of Ricky Ponting and Sourav Ganguly. Shaw said he’s always looking to pick their brains for inputs that could further enhance his understanding of the game.
“It’s been fantastic,” he said on Saturday, 6 April, the eve of Delhi’s match against Royal Challengers Bangalore. “They’ve already played 15-20 years of international cricket. They know how to handle a youngster because they’ve also been in those days. They know how to handle pressure, they know how to talk to them [youngsters]. Not maybe technically, not on skills, but mentally how to prepare. I just question a lot to them because I want to take all the things they’ve done – how to score runs, how to tackle situations.”
Shaw’s T20 numbers are slightly underwhelming – he averages 23.63 in the format, which pales in comparison to his first-class (60.93) and List-A (40.56) numbers. But one can expect him to boost those numbers sooner rather than later.
In this IPL, Shaw has blown hot and cold – he made 99 against Kolkata Knight Riders, but has managed just 42 runs from the other four innings so far. He will have the opportunity to set that right on the batsman-friendly M Chinnaswammy Stadium surface on Sunday.
“I feel that this wicket is going to be good for batting and we are looking forward to some good runs on the board,” he said.
Shaw has a hunger for runs and has already given ample evidence of his skill to achieve them. If Bangalore, who have lost each of their five matches, are to reverse their fortunes against Delhi, they will have to devise a strong plan to get the young star out early.
– by Rishad D’Souza