Have India found a new Virender Sehwag in Test cricket?
Well that is the tone of the town with people gushing over teenage sensation Prithvi Shaw.
Fans and pundits alike have fancied the 18-year-old opening batsman to that of Sehwag. Let’s not get overboard with the same, but yes, there are flashes of Sehwag in Shaw. As many would call it the ‘Shaw’ time.
Shaw was brilliant on Day 1 of the first Test versus the West Indies in Rajkot. Being selected to open the innings, the debutant made merry to pounce upon hapless Windies bowlers to strike a maiden ton. What a dream innings that was from the stroke-filled Shaw.
Take a bow, @PrithviShaw #INDvWI pic.twitter.com/3ttCamlAcl
— BCCI (@BCCI) October 4, 2018
Sehwag, who too smashed a ton in his first Test, came down the order. And over time, the swashbuckling batsman was promoted up the order. The rest as they call was history. Shaw in his own rights is a natural opener and the team management allowed him to bat in his normal position.
And when he set himself at the crease, there wasn’t a single defensive shot in the first 16 balls he faced. Now that is something like the swagger of Sehwag. The youngster played his aggressive brand of cricket and floored the Windies bowlers with a stupendous knock of 134. Importantly, he got to his hundred off just 99 deliveries.
India ended the day on 364/4 and are on the front foot with skipper Virat Kohli (72*) inching towards his 24th Test ton.
Shaw delivers on debut
There was a lot of buzz surrounding the young lad from Pune after the management confirmed, on Wednesday, that he would get his debut Test cap against West Indies. And the young guy from Maharashtra showed his true potential as he slammed a century in his debut innings.
Shaw was brilliant and played a lot square of the wicket and was effective in his game. The promising youngster never allowed West Indian bowlers to settle down and kept scoring in a brisk rate. That also helped Cheteshwar Pujara (86) to keep the temp going as the duo added 206 runs for the 2nd wicket.
India lost KL Rahul for a nought, but Shaw didn’t allow that to bother him. By lunch itself, India managed 100+ runs and the foundation was laid for a big total.
The journey has just started for Shaw and India will be happy that this could be the start of an exciting phase that promises a lot of positives.
Shaw shows familiarities of Sehwag
Post lunch, the youngster carried in the same lethal vein and smashed Devendra Bishoo for two boundaries in the first over itself. Like Sehwag he is an excellent player against spin and doesn’t mind going down the track and launching an attack.
Sehwag had a strong hand and eye co-ordination and was powerful through his hands. Shaw though has these qualities besides having the cushion of an excellent footwork. His strike-rate of close to 100 gives us an indication that he has the attributes of the former Indian legend.
Like Sehwag, the dashing Shaw has an attacking intent and plays a wide range of shots. Also what needs to be highlighted is his exceptional back-foot play. Sehwag in his time was a master of the back-foot and always looked in control.
Following Shaw’s innings, many like myself were glued to the television set. One thing that was highlighted was that he stays leg-side of the ball, and looks to get runs off every ball. Another prime example of being so Sehwag-like.
Even Indian cricketer Suresh Raina batted for Shaw and stated that he reminded him of Viru. He played really well. Nice, hardworking guy. He reminds me of Viru. The brisk rate at which he scores runs and his fearlessness,” said Raina in a report in the IANS.
Fearless Shaw shows hunger
Shaw often showed that he bats with no fear and also no inhibitions. That is such a delightful; attribute given its his debut. And his hunger for runs was highlighted. There was no need for the over ambitious shots and he played as per the situation.
19 boundaries tells us why this innings was so calculated and effective shot-making range. He just knew the field placements and benefitted from his vision. And what it resulted in is that it got him to brush with a plethora of records.
Shaw became the 106th cricketer across all nations to score a ton on Test debut. He joined a strong list of Indians including the likes of Sourav Ganguly, Sehwag, Shikhar Dhawan and Mohammad Azharuddin to name a few.
What mesmerises most is Shaw’s intent which shows he could be the next big thing in Tests. Shaw also became the youngest to score 100+ runs on Test debut for India. He achieved the feat at 18 years and 329 days.
That is just phenomenal for a player that has played very little first-class cricket.