When the master blaster Sachin Tendulkar saw the young prodigy Prithvi Shaw bat several years ago, he predicted then and there that the young man would one day go on to represent his country.
Cricket news: Prithvi Shaw scored a century in his debut Test match against West Indies
On Thursday, Prithvi became the youngest Indian player to score a century on his debut Test match against West Indies as he made a brilliant 134 in Rajkot.
Prithvi was a product of the Mumbai system, much like Sachin, and had once sought a meeting with the genius to know more about how to develop his game, and at that very moment had impressed Tendulkar.
“Jagdish Chavan, a friend of mine, once asked me to take a look at Prithvi,” Tendulkar told the Times of India. “He said, ‘There’s this young kid who wants to meet you and it would be nice if you could have a look at him’. Prithvi wanted to discuss his game and he was very young at that time.
“So I had a look at him and, at first glance, I told him [Chavan], this boy will end up playing for India. I remember telling him ‘You’re looking at a future India cricketer… Mark my words, this guy will end up playing for India’. So that was my very first impression of Prithvi.”
Tendulkar revealed that he was impressed with Prithvi’s hand-eye coordination and “the way he picked up the line and the length. It was really exceptional. At that age, no one can generate power. That comes with age. But technically how many guys are so correct? I could see that he had that natural talent, a gift, and I felt not many guys have that.”
As Shaw scored his first century in his debut innings, Tendulkar feels that the 18-year-old player has ticked a significant box.
“I’m sure it must be extremely relieving that he’s been able to get a big score in his first outing. A big question mark always is, ‘A guy has done well at the domestic level, now will he be able to do the same at the international level?’ However talented the guy is, there is always a question mark. And a century kind of seals it. The figure is magical. Everyone starts thinking differently. As far as I am concerned, the first hurdle that he was going to encounter is out of the way now.”
Tendulkar kept praising Shaw and said that he has the ability to learn and adjust and adapt to various situations.
“Whatever I have seen of him, he’s been a fast learner. To me, being talented is one thing but what you do with that talent becomes more important. If you want to succeed at the international level you’ve got to be a fast learner. When somebody has to perform and sustain at this level, and play cricket at different grounds and conditions across the world for a long time to come, adaptability becomes the critical factor. To me, that is Prithvi’s biggest strength.”
Tendulkar even said that he had once counselled Shaw against making any technical changes in his batting. He said to Shaw that, “If anyone asks you to change your batting grip, you should ask that person to come and speak with me”.
Shaw had previously said that India U-19 coach Rahul Dravid also said about not changing his techniques and not to worry if he was scoring runs. Tendulkar’s advice was also the same.
“He discussed it with me some time ago and all I asked him was, ‘Have you been feeling uncomfortable about it?’ His answer was ‘No’… ‘Then why change anything unnecessarily. When things are not broken, don’t break them so that you can mend them again. If you’re being able to adjust, then it’s fine. In time, there will be a lot changes taking place in your game with experience. And you’ve got to ride that tide’.
“Changes will happen as he goes on playing more cricket at this level. It is inevitable. But, until then, don’t keep finding faults.”