Ranji Trophy: Teen sensation Prithvi Shaw makes it to Mumbai squad

Updated: Dec 30, 2016, 09:02 IST | Subodh Mayure |

Mumbai selectors make solitary change from quarter-final squad and pick uncapped 17-year-old Prithvi for Ranji Trophy semis against Tamil Nadu in Rajkot


Mumbai’s Prithvi Shaw

Forty-nine days after celebrating his 17th birthday, Mumbai teenager Prithvi Shaw received a surprise gift. The young cricketer got a maiden call-up to play for Mumbai in the all-important Ranji Trophy semi-final clash against Tamil Nadu that begins on January 1 in Rajkot. Shaw was included in the side in place of opener Kevin D'Almeida, who failed to make an impression in the quarters against Hyderabad, scoring nine and one respectively, while opening the innings. Mumbai beat Hyderabad by 30 runs.

Shaw, who was the vice-captain of the India under-19 team in the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka, scored 39 off 36 balls in the final where India beat the hosts by 34 runs. As an opener, Shaw emerged the fourth highest run-scorer in the tournament with 191 runs from five matches.

Shaw felt the Ranji selection was a total surprise. "I did not expect this call so early because it's a semi-final game. It was a huge surprise for me. This is my New Year's gift in advance," he told mid-day yesterday. Yesterday, he spent nearly five hours fine-tuning his batting skills, first at the MIG CC ground in Bandra and later on, at Air India's turf in Kalina.

High-level practice
He heard the news of his selection before heading to Kalina and he practised even harder there, taking several throw downs. He also practised the art of leaving deliveries which could have dismissed him in a match. "If I get an opportunity to play in the semis against Tamil Nadu, I will play with the same approach that helped me during my performances so far, including the under-19 Asia Cup. It will be a great experience for me to share the dressing room with players like Aditya Tare, Abhishek Nayar, Shreyas Iyer and Siddhesh Lad. I will try and learn as much I can from these senior players," Shaw explained.

"In Ranji Trophy, the bowling is much superior as compared to the under-19 level. But I don't think that will be a problem for me as I am ready to face any attack," he added. Speaking on Shaw's inclusion, Mumbai chief selector Milind Rege said: "He is scoring runs at the U-19 level and repeated the same in the U-19 Asia Cup also. He is the man in form and we are looking for an opener, so we thought this is the right time to select him. Let's see how he plays."

Muzumdar shares advice
Former Mumbai skipper Amol Muzumdar, who scored 260 against Haryana in his debut Ranji game in 1993-94 season when he just 19, advised Shaw to play according to the situation.

"He should not be worried about other things and has to focus on the match. He should play according to the situation rather anything else. I am sure he will do well. He has got the potential. I have seen him and have even coached him at the India U-19 camp at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore," said Muzumdar.

It's important that cricketers at such a tender age are provided with financial support that would allow them to concentrate on their game. In this regard, Shaw was lucky to have received support from cricket mentor Makarand Waingankar right from the age of 14. "It's really important that someone helps young cricketers at the right time as cricket equipment is very costly. When Shaw was just another player three years ago, I spoke to Paras Anand of Sanspareils Greenlands bats. They sponsored him to the tune of R36 (in terms of equipment) lakh for six years," Waingankar said.

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