CHENNAI: For a 17-year-old, Prithvi Shaw knows a thing or two about pragmatism. Sample the Mumbai batsman’s recollection of what transpired before and during his Ranji Trophy debut this season, for starters. “To be honest, I wasn’t expecting the call,” reminisced Shaw on the sidelines of the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy, referring to that call-up.
In case you’re wondering why the right-hander deemed it ‘out of the blue’, his debut was Mumbai’s semifinal against Tamil Nadu. “It was a big game, and I had only six days. I spent most of that time with Chandrakant (Pandit) sir, and gained whatever knowledge I could. I didn’t do well in the first innings (he scored 4). I then sat down with the experienced guys, and they told me to be myself. That’s how it happened.”
The ‘it’ Shaw referred to was a confidence-filled debut ton in the second innings — a feat Mumbai hadn’t seen for more than two decades — that propelled his team to the final. Though Mumbai lost that clash to Gujarat, Shaw was at his free-flowing best, despite throwing away starts (71 off 93 and 44 off 35).
Prodding the Santacruz resident a bit more about those knocks makes him segue — in a manner that might well be the equivalent of a billboard reading ‘Level-headed beyond age’ — into dissecting his own temperament.
“During the Asia Cup last year, I was trying to be aggressive from the start. But I couldn’t make starts count. After that, (Rahul) Dravid sir asked me to have more patience, assess situations, and change gears accordingly.”
Shaw listened. Proof of that being India’s fourth U-19 ODI against England this month, where the colts notched up their second-highest total, courtesy rapid tons from Shaw — his first — and Shubham Gill.
All these exploits led to him being named in many an online listicle ostensibly titled: “Indian cricketers who may spark a bidding war at the IPL auction”. Unfortunately, he was given a miss. It isn’t surprising though, that the youngster’s taken that development too in his stride.
“Actually, I didn’t want to put my name in, since all teams will change next year. Had I been roped in, it would’ve been a good experience. But I’m okay with what happened. It hasn’t really affected the way I’m treating the task at hand.”
Though his maiden List A bow is far from reaching a crescendo at the moment (10 off 17 and 21 off 24), not writing Shaw off is perhaps the most pragmatic thing to do.