I'm used to pressure now, says India under-19 skipper Prithvi Shaw

Updated: Feb 03, 2018, 11:42 IST | Gaurav Joshi

India under-19 skipper, who has dealt with high expectations from a very young age, is unaffected by a billion hopes for today's World Cup final against the Australians in NZ

India skipper Prithvi Shaw (left) and Australia skipper Jason Sangha pose with the under-19 World Cup in New Zealand yesterday. Pic/ICC
India skipper Prithvi Shaw (left) and Australia skipper Jason Sangha pose with the under-19 World Cup in New Zealand yesterday. Pic/ICC

An endearing image of Prithvi Shaw cuddling a baby and posing for a photograph alongside the infant's parents gained popularity during the U-19 World Cup here. The fact that Prithvi, 18, realised the onus was on him to walk over at his own peril and the way he held the baby so comfortably, told a tale of a mature youngster who knew his responsibility as an India captain and a role model. It should not come as a surprise. After all, Prithvi was earmarked as the next cricketing prodigy in Mumbai's cricketing circles even before he had turned 12. He was aware of the hype, the expectations and dedication required to climb those lofty heights.

Today, he will lead the India U-19 team into the World Cup final against Australia. As has often been the case, the whole nation will be casting an eye on him. The term 'pressure' is almost non-existent to him.

India U-19 coach Rahul Dravid chats with skipper Prithvi Shaw during a training session ahead of the U-19 World Cup final against Australia yesterday. Pic/ICC
India U-19 coach Rahul Dravid chats with skipper Prithvi Shaw during a training session ahead of the U-19 World Cup final against Australia yesterday. Pic/ICC

Prithvi's teammates just laugh when asked if they have ever seen their skipper under pressure. So, how does he handle the spotlight and pressure? "Right from my childhood, the school (Rizvi Springfield) that I played for, had players such as Sarfaraz Khan and Arman Jaffer. There used to be media around whenever we used to play school cricket. They always watched us, we knew they will be there and we have to deal with it," he told reporters on the eve of the title clash yesterday. "So, from an early age, we knew that if we perform well, our photographs would be in the newspapers. I've got used to it now," he added.

From school to youth cricket, to Ranji Trophy and now leading India in the U-19 World Cup final, the platform is getting higher and higher. "There was a lot of media attention on me when I played in the Ranji Trophy. I also know that people have expectations from me, but I don't shy away from them. "I know that if I need to make it big, I have to handle all this. It's a challenge to fulfill expectations," he said while choosing his words carefully.

"The U-19 World Cup is just a part of that process. I have to remember that sometimes I'm not going to meet all these expectations, but it's part of the game. You learn to handle it," he concluded.

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