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'I was a bit nervous, but then tried to play my natural game'

Last updated on: October 04, 2018 20:47 IST

'I was not thinking about it as my first game, I was just thinking that it's another game and it just happened.'

Mumbai boy Prithvi Shaw struck his maiden Test ton on debut in the first Test against West Indies in Rajkot on Thursday

IMAGE: Prithvi Shaw struck his maiden Test ton on debut in the first Test against the West Indies in Rajkot, October 4, 2018. Photograph: PTI

Prithvi Shaw has been compared to batting great Sachin Tendulkar since he was a 14-year-old schoolboy and the lofty parallels will intensify after the teenage prodigy made a sparkling hundred on his Test debut on Thursday.

At 18 years and 329 days, Shaw became the youngest Indian and fourth-youngest overall to score a ton on his Test debut during a knock of 134 off 154 balls against the West Indies in Rajkot.

The hosts reached 364/4 at the close after Shaw's heroics put India on course for a big first-innings total in the opening Test.

In the process Shaw, who led India to the under-19 World Cup title earlier this year, also became the 15th Indian to hit a century on debut.

His breezy knock received praise from Tendulkar, who was also known for dominating opposition bowlers as a young batsman.

'Lovely to see such an attacking knock in your first innings, @prithvishaw! Continue batting fearlessly, Tendulkar tweeted.

Like Tendulkar, Shaw shot to prominence from inter-school cricket when he smashed 546 off 330 balls for Rizvi Springfield in a minors cricket competition in Mumbai in 2013. He hit 85 fours and 5 sixes during that knock.

 

Prithvi Shaw has been compared to Sachin Tendulkar right from his days in junior cricket

IMAGE: Shaw has been compared to Sachin Tendulkar right from his days in junior cricket. Photograph: PTI

For his part, Tendulkar, who went on to become the most prolific run-scorer in an international career spanning 24 years, once held the record for the highest partnership of 664 in school cricket with Vinod Kambli.

Both Tendulkar and Shaw are short in stature and baby-faced and have spent their formative years toiling on the pitches in Mumbai, known as the breeding ground for producing future India cricketers. The similarities do not end there.

Shaw scored a hundred in his first-class debut in a Ranji Trophy semi-final for Mumbai in 2017 and then became the youngest player to score a century on his Duleep Trophy debut, a record previously held by Tendulkar.

Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan opened for India at the start of the recent five-Test series in England, but both were overlooked after the 4-1 defeat, handing a chance to Shaw, who was a non-playing squad member for the final two England Tests.

He could not have been more impressive in his maiden Test knock, scoring his first runs with a punch off the back foot through covers off his second delivery, reminding everyone why he had been tipped for a bright future in national colours.

Shaw, who hit 19 fours, was often a tad flashy for an opening batsman with his shot selection but showed stunning fluency in scoring on both sides of the wicket.

'I was not thinking about it as my first game, I was just thinking that it's another game and it just happened'

IMAGE: 'I was not thinking about it as my first game, I was just thinking that it's another game and it just happened.' Photograph: PTI

"First I was a bit nervous but when I got in I was quite comfortable and I was just trying to play my natural game, what I do in first-class cricket and in India A, and I just kept on going," Shaw told broadcaster Star Sports.

"I was not thinking about it as my first game, I was just thinking that it's another game and it just happened."

Shaw's attacking knock was, however, more reminiscent of Tendulkar's one-day opening partner Virender Sehwag who bludgeoned the South African attack on his Test debut to score 105 in Bloemfontein in 2001.

Shaw's hunger for runs was evident when he stood rooted to his crease in disappointment after his dismissal, tamely offering leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo an easy return catch.

"I don't think it was enough after scoring that 100. The wicket was good and I should have kept batting," he said, dedicating his first Test 100 to his father.

"I was very disappointed, there were only 10 minutes left for the tea break and you should be a little bit careful."

Prithvi Shaw says he was ready to debut in England

IMAGE: Prithvi says he was ready to debut in England. Photograph: ICC/Twitter

The teen sensation said he was well prepared to play his first international game against a better attack in testing English conditions.

Shaw was named in India's squad for the final two Tests in England but did not get to make his debut in a series which the visitors lost 1-4.

"It was the captain and coach's decision (when to give me a game). I was ready in England as well, but finally got the opportunity here," the soft-spoken youngster said after stumps on day one.

"But it I was a great experience in England. They made feel really comfortable. Virat bhai told me there is no senior or junior in the team. It was nice sharing the dressing room with players who have played international cricket for more than five years. Everyone is a friend now."

Having scored a hundred on Ranji and Duleep Trophy debut, Shaw did the same at the highest level. When asked, Shaw was modest about rising to the occasion timing and again.

"I don't know how I manage but whenever go in the middle, I try to play to the merit of the ball and even in this game I went in with the same mindset. I did not try anything new thinking it is my first Test. Played the same way I have played India A and domestic cricket."

"There is a lot of difference between international cricket and Under-19 or domestic cricket. They come with a lot of strategies in international cricket. You face bowlers with a lot more pace," said Shaw who looked comfortable against Shanon Gabriel even though he was touching 150kph.

"Sometimes you face serious pace in domestic cricket but here is a lot more variety and experience."

Prithvi Shah in numbers

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