18-year old Prithvi Shaw is currently leading India in the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup at New Zealand. He has already made his presence felt in domestic cricket and his exploits are counted as legendary. Based on his stellar credentials so far, he can no longer be ignored by Indian selectors. In the first two matches of the ongoing U-19 World Cup, Prithvi’s batting was the mainstay of India scoring impressive victories over Australia and Papua New Guinea. He didn’t open the batting against Zimbabwe on Friday but India still won that match by 10 wickets. There are strong indications that the cool-headed Prithvi will soon burst into India’s senior team.
Prithvi made cricketing headlines as a 14-year old schoolboy. Playing for his school Rizvi Springfield High School in a Harris Shield elite division, Prithvi scored 546 runs from 330 balls in November 2013. The right-hander kept batting for over 6 hours and his innings contained 85 fours and 5 sixes. Interestingly, Prithvi’s efforts took Rizvi amass 991 after they had already bowled out their opponents, St Francis d’Assisi for a mere 93. This was not the first time that Prithvi had been playing in Harris Shield. A year earlier in 2012, he had made his debut and scored 155 in semi-final and 174 in the final. Incidentally, Prithvi was also Rizvi’s captain in both 2012 and 2013.
Prithvi made his first-class debut, when he was inducted in Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy team for the semifinal against Tamil Nadu in 2016-17 season. Prithvi scored just 4 runs in the first innings but when Mumbai needed 251 for victory in the fourth innings, Prithvi showed his class by hitting 120 off 175 balls. Besides earning the man-of-the-match award, Prithvi had also scored a century on his debut appearance. On September 25, 2017, Prithvi made his Duleep Trophy debut equally memorable. Batting and opening for India Reds, Prithvi notched up 154 to become the second youngest cricketer after Sachin Tendulkar to score centuries on debut in Ranji and Duleep Trophy games. The young Prithvi didn’t get his hundred on the platter though. India Reds’ opponents India Blue had the likes of Ishant Sharma, Jaydev Unadkat and Pankaj Singh and in over from Ishant Sharma, Prithvi struck 4 sweetly-times boundaries. A few months later, Prithvi was named as India’s captain for the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand.
Under Prithvi, the India U-19 side has already recorded three forthright victories in the 2018 New Zealand World Cup. In their first game against Australia on January 14, Prihvi led India’s assault from front and forked out a 180-run first-wicket stand with Manjot Kalra. In reply to India’s 328/7, Australia slumped to 228 all out in the 43rd over. After that 100-run victory, India played against Papua New Guinea on January 16. Prithvi won the toss and put PNG in. India’s bowlers did the trick this time bowling out PNG for a meager 64 in 22nd over. The target of 65 was easy for India but Prithvi made it even easier by a scorching 57 off 39 balls in the winning score of 67/0 in just 8 over. On January 19, India bowled out Zimbabwe for 154 and reached the winning target of 155 in the 22nd over without losing any wicket. Prithvi did not bat in this match. India’s next game is the Super-League quarterfinal on January 26 at Queenstown and their opponents will either be England or Bangladesh.
Indians have a great record in the U-19 World Cup. They first won the title in 2000 under Mohammad Kaif. Then Virat Kohli brought the World Cup to India in 2008 and Unmukt Chand in 2012. Now perhaps it is Prithvi Shaw’s time to do that in 2018. That will be known only on February 3, 2018 but regardless of the final winner; Prithvi has already carved his path for big time cricket. Now it is only a question of how soon can he become the part of India’s senior team?
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