Who is Prithvi Shaw? The prodigy who smashed records

Who is Prithvi Shaw? The prodigy who smashed records

The 18-year-old Prithvi Shaw shattered multiple records. (PTI Photo)

A popular joke about sports and records goes something like this: "the true definition of sports is people trying very hard to accomplish pointless tasks" - David O'Doherty

Yet, millions of people are glued to their screens every day, hoping to see something impossible and for the off-chance to be witness to something so historic that if they didn’t see it live, means having missed it entirely.

But today, the people got what they want as 18-year-old Prithvi Shaw shattered multiple records.

Shaw became the youngest Test debut opener for India and then became the youngest to score a fifty on a Test debut for India by reaching the mark in 56 balls. In doing so, he broke a 59-year-old record, previously held by Abbas Ali Baig who at 20 years and 126 days also scored more than 50 on a Test debut against England at Old Trafford in 1959.

He did this on the opening day of the first Test against the West Indies at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on Thursday and in the process also became only the 15th Indian cricketer to score a century on his debut.

Many comparisons have already been drawn between the legendary Sachin Tendulkar and Shaw’s many other records are a testament to his reputation as an up and coming prodigy of the cricket world.

Not only did he become the first player to score over 500 runs in Mumbai’s school-level competition but he also set the highest total by an Indian player in any level. In fact, Prithvi’s incredible feat was the third largest total in the history of the sport and the highest recorded competitive score since 1901!

But it’s the youngster’s humility about it all that will stump you like a googly. Asked about his incredible run record, he said: “I never expected to score 546 or to break any records but my dad and coaches helped me keep focused. I’ve never thought of scoring such a high total but I’ve always believed in my own abilities.”

Shaw’s life has also been chronicled in a documentary titled “Beyond all Boundaries” which gives some background of his cricketing journey. Prithvi’s mother died when he was only four years old and Shaw was brought up entirely by his father Pankaj who sold his small clothes shop to focus on Prithvi’s cricket and his upbringing, surviving on a meagre salary.

Shot in 2011, when he was only 12 years old, the documentary dares to make some bold claims about Prithvi’s future as he is introduced as the next big thing in Indian cricket.

While it is exciting to see that it has rung true, an interview with the 15-year old Shaw done by Trans World Sport will explain why his rise was always inevitable.

Asked to say what the sport and spot in the Indian cricket team would mean to him, he replied: “To wear an Indian cricket team jersey is a big honour and is not something to be taken lightly. You can’t buy it. It takes lots of hard work to earn it. It will be very difficult to focus and concentrate but maybe one day I will wear it."