The ability to adapt in different situations and conditions is young Prithvi Shaw’s biggest strength, says the batting legend Sachin Tendulkar.
Living up to the hype of being the next Indian batting great, Shaw smashed a century on his debut match in international cricket on Thursday (October 4). Shaw, at 18 years and 329 days, notched the three-figure mark off 99 balls against West Indies on Day 1 of the first Test at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot.
With this ton, Prithvi Shaw also became the youngest Indian to score a Test century on debut. He surpassed the record of Abbas Ali Baig, who at the age of 20 years 131 days, scored a century on his Test debut against England in Manchester in 1959. Shaw eventually fell for 134, caught and bowled by Devendra Bishoo. His maiden Test innings was laced with 19 boundaries.
After Shaw’s masterful knock, Tendulkar spoke highly of the teenager in an exclusive interview with The Times of India.
“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. It cements your spot in the team and help you announce to the world that you belong here,” the batting maestro quoted.
“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. And Prithvi is a very good 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. I feel he has the knack to adapt to different situations and conditions. To me, that is Prithvi's biggest strength,” he added.
When asked about Shaw’s future prospects, Tendulkar further highlighted the significance of ‘adjustment and adaptability’ to get success all around the world.
“If you're able to make those adjustments in your game from time to time, then you're in for the big haul,” Sachin asserted.
“At this level, it's not always about being correct all the time. It's about being able to adjust and adapt all the time. So, if you're able to do that consistently, then most of the problems are taken care of. Smartness matters. It's a combination of these things,” he explained.
Tendulkar has been keeping an eye on Shaw for some years now. He has also helped the youngster with his technique, telling the interviewer that he had told Shaw “when things are not broken, don't break them so that you can mend them again” and “don't keep finding faults with yourself”.
Talking about the most special aspect of Shaw in the first glance, Tendulkar said: “Just basic things. At that age, the hand-eye coordination he had, 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.”