Comparisons with Tendulkar cannot be overruled as he clears the real ‘Test’ while opening the batting for the Indian team today at Rajkot.
Prithvi Shaw, all of 18 years and 329 days old, reached his hundred off just 99 balls, hitting 15 fours, to surpass the record of Abbas Ali Baig. The opener also becomes the fourth youngest player of all time to hit a debut ton and the second youngest Indian to make a Test century after the God of Cricket, Sachin Tendulkar.
Leading Test scorer Tendulkar, to whom Shaw has been compared, was just 17 years and 112 days old when he hit his first Test century against England at Old Trafford in 1990. Baig on the other hand was 20 years and 131 days old when he made a century on his debut against England at Old Trafford in 1959.
Shaw eventually got caught and bowled on 134 by Devendra Bishoo, during the two-match Test Series hosted by India at Gujarat today. Prithvi along with Cheteshwar Pujara put on a double hundred partnership after KL Rahul was dismissed lbw by Shannon Gabriel for a duck.
Father Pankaj Shaw’s contribution in Prithvi’s career and life
Prithvi was only four years old, when he lost his mother. He was raised by his father, Pankaj, who toiled along with Prithvi managing the role of both mother and father, exceptionally well. Pankaj Shaw sold his small clothes shop to focus on Prithvi’s cricket and his upbringing and surviving. He believed in boosting and encouraging Prithvi’s capability and somehow managed it all in a meagre salary.
Waking up Prithvi for practice every day at 4:30 a.m. cooking for him, travelling 90 minutes to catch the 6:00 a.m. train headed for Bandra to practice at the Middle Income Group (MIG) grounds, carrying Prithvi’s cricket kit and school bag, Pankaj emerged as a wonderful single father who gave up everything in nurturing his son’s life. He often took Prithvi to the beach near JW Marriott, Juhu, Mumbai to make him play cricket along with him and Prithvi’s friends.
In the documentary “Beyond All Boundaries”, Prithvi says my father’s dreams for me are bigger than me.”
It was in 2010 when former left-arm spinner Nilesh Kulkarni first noticed Shaw’s ability with the bat. Kulkarni’s sports management company snapped the young Mumbaikar up for an annual stipend of Rs 3 lakh at a tender, yet aggressive age of 11.
A local MLA, Sanjay Potnis played an important role in the life of Shaws by offering the two, his family flat in Santa Cruz. The MLA felt that it would help the young boy not just cut travel time, but also give him a better opportunity to focus on his academics. Destiny and hard work added to advancing Shaw’s career, during his stints at a United Kingdom-based academy and a second rung countryside that gave him the exposure to play on different conditions as well.
Shaw set the highest score in Indian schools’ cricket scoring an unbelievable 546 in 330 balls in the Harris Shield Elite Division Tournament until the record was overtaken by Pranav Dhanawade in 2016, as captain of the Rizvi Springfield High School in 2013.
Shaw matched Tendulkar’s record, after scoring a century in his Duleep Trophy debut. He also broke the Master Blaster’s record of becoming the youngest player to score a century in the Duleep Trophy at the tender age of 17.
In January 2018, Shaw captained the Under-19 side to World Cup glory and also scored an impressive 261 runs in the tournament at an average of 65.25, Shaw became the highest scoring Indian captain at this level surpassing the likes of Unmukt Chand, Virat Kohli and Parthiv Patel.
As per an interview given to TOI in February this year, Prithvi’s first coach, Sanjay Pingulkar said,
“Prithvi Shaw came to me when he was around three years old. No one was taking him in Mumbai saying he was very young. I felt there is something in the boy and spoke to his father Pankaj Shaw. He later joined our academy in 2002 and started coming to me regularly.”
Shaw was born in Virar, Maharashtra in November 1999. He is sponsored by the Indian Oil Corporation.