The Bay of Plenty, that’s the location in New Zealand where the U-19 World Cup was inaugurated and where the last match was played. It can be said that for Prithvi Shaw, it was the bay of plenty of success. The captain of the Indian men’s U-19 World Cup team has once again put the gentleman’s game in the limelight proving the mantle of youngsters as the country now dominates the title table.
But what’s the story of the man who lead the team to victory? Prithvi Shaw is based out of Mumbai, Maharashtra and started playing cricket at a very young age. A regular at Shivaji Park in the heart of the city, Shaw managed to impress everyone with his batting skills since the beginning. While his father was a clothes vendor in Mumbai, his mother passed away at a very early age.
For a lot of cricketers, winning the U-19 World Cup brought a lot of glory and limelight to their name. For Prithvi, it was nothing he didn’t already know. Back in November 2013, a 14-year-old Prithvi led his school Rizvi Springfield and by the time the match ended, he put his name in the record books forever. Even as the crowd began to swell at the Baronet Club's ground at Azad Maidan, Prithvi Shaw scored 546 off 330 balls against St. Francis D'Assisi.
Arguably, The Harris Shield is India’s most prominent junior cricket tournament and is known for throwing up talents to the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, and Ajit Agarkar. Shaw led his school twice in the tournament in 2012 and 2013 and won the titles both times. Since then, his name in the circuit grew and Shaw went to play for Manchester's Cheadle Hulme School in England. He started his debut by hitting a century and in his two months stay at the school, he hit 1466 runs.
Back home, he made his first-class debut for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy semi-finals and scored a match-winning century. In his first List A game, he notched up a century again. In 2016, Prithvi was handed the mantle to lead India at the 2018 ICC U-19 World Cup in New Zealand. It’s a role he lived up to and even led by example. Shaw scored 261 runs in the six games - 94 vs Australia, 57 not out vs Papua New Guinea, 40 vs Bangladesh and 41 vs Pakistan.
"It is all about experience, when you are 7-8 years old you start playing school cricket and score runs, my coaches from school level to Rahul Dravid sir now, all those small things, the experiences make a difference. It was a difficult journey for me starting where I used to live in Virar. All credit to my dad, he was the one who took me (everywhere). He used to take me to match practices and it was far away from my home in Virar,” Prithvi said at a press conference.
Now, according to BCCI rules, no player will or can play more than one U-19 World Cup. So in the retirement town of Mt Maunganui, New Zealand, Prithvi Shaw and his team have retired from Under-19 cricket in the best way possible. But this is obviously not the end as the boy from Shivaji Park is now a shining star in the world.