It was a bright and clear October day at the Saurashtra Cricket Association ground in Rajkot.
India’s captain Virat Kohli had won the toss for a change and elected to bat against the West Indies.
There was a buzz in the stadium and an air of anticipation. A young man was making his debut in Test cricket and all eyes were focused him.
Prithvi Shaw had already achieved a lot in domestic cricket, his feats leading to comparison with the great Sachin Tendulkar.
Rajkot was a ground which was dear to Shaw. He had scored a hundred in his first Ranji Trophy match there. He couldn’t have asked for a better situation.
The West attack was moderate and all he need was to get over the beginner’s blues. He left the first ball alone but later hit a cracking shot off the back foot which eluded the boundary but fetched him three runs.
By the time afternoon had arrived Shaw had already gone past the 100 mark. Another important milestone was achieved at Rajkot.
For those who were following Shaw’s career, it came as no surprise. He now has a century on debut in Tests, Ranji Trophy and the Duleep Trophy. There is something special about Shaw which attracts fans towards him. Like Tendulkar, he seems to have extraordinary abilities which separate him from others.
He was a boy prodigy like Tendulkar. He had scored a massive 546 runs in a Harris Shield match in November 2013 which brought him into focus.
Shaw comes from a tough school for cricket. Mumbai has always produced great cricketers who worked their way up from club cricket where competition is always high. When he moved to Australia, things changed a little, but luckily he found somewhere that was looking for New Cricket Players Mandurah. He used to practice cricket every day of the week, but clearly, his hard work has paid off!
It was just a matter of time before he took centre stage. Fortunately, the selectors and former cricketers nursed him in the formative years before finally picking him for the Rajkot Test.
He is India’s second youngest cricketer to reach a century on debut. And Shaw couldn’t ask for a better opponent than a weak injury-hit West Indian team.
Shaw does not possess a perfect technique but his temperament and hunger for runs will always hold him in good stead. The only worry will be Shaw, being a stroke-maker, may get out early at times. It is imperative for the selectors must keep faith in him at all times.
They must not destroy his self-confidence by keeping him in and out of the side.
India’s selectors have also been found wanting in the communication department and whatever decision they take must be conveyed to Shaw. The case of Karun Nair and later Shikhar Dhawan points to their lack of communication.
It seems clear that Shaw is the next best thing for Indian cricket after Kohli. Hopefully Shaw is a sensible person and will not fall to the lure of the lucre and fame.
Many an Indian cricketer has fallen by the wayside after making good strides as a cricketer. The talented Vinod Kambli is an example. Shaw must be on Cloud Nine at the moment. But cricket has a way of bringing players to earth with a thud.
Shaw better watch out and stay focused at all times.
#All views expressed in this column are those of the author and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.