India's Prithvi Shaw scored a half-century against Cricket Australia XI.
India's Prithvi Shaw scored a half-century against Cricket Australia XI.

Teen star out to dominate Australia

A teenager from Mumbai measuring in at 165 centimetres tall on his maiden Test tour of Australia.

That's both a description of Sachin Tendulkar in 1991 and Prithvi Shaw right now.

Shaw, 19, has started his Australian tour in style, notching a 69-ball 66 for India against the Cricket Australia XI in Sydney on Thursday, and heads into the Border-Gavaskar Test series with a burgeoning reputation.

A month ago he made his Test debut and marked the occasion with a century against the West Indies. He would pass 50 two more times for the series to take his Test average to a handy 118.50 - odds are that number will come down sooner rather than later but there are no guarantees.

There was already plenty of hype around the youngster before that series and it has only grown since. Coach Ravi Shastri has done little to quell the buzz around the dashing right-hander.

"He is born to play cricket," Shastri said after Shaw's debut series.

"He's a spectator's delight. There's a bit of Sachin (Tendulkar) there, a bit of Viru (Virendar Sehwag) in him and when he walks there's a bit of (Brian) Lara as well.

The captain of India's triumphant Under-19 World Cup team earlier this year, Shaw averaged 60.93 with eight hundreds across 17 first-class matches before coming to Australia.

He made the first of those hundreds on his first-class debut as a 17-year-old but he has been under the national spotlight pretty much his whole life.

When the prodigy was only 10 years old veteran Mumbai cricket reporter Makarand Waingankar tweeted that he was one to watch out for, while Tendulkar himself says he saw Shaw plying his trade even earlier.

"Ten years ago, one of my friends asked me to take a look at young Prithvi," Tendulkar told fans on his app earlier this year.

"… I had a session with him and gave a couple of pointers on how to improve his game. I told my friend later that he is going to go on and play for India."


An 18-year-old Sachin Tendulkar celebrates his SCG century.
An 18-year-old Sachin Tendulkar celebrates his SCG century.

Shaw's career has followed a path similar to Tendulkar's ever since. As a 14-year-old he scored 546 runs in a single innings in the Harris Shield - the same school tournament in which Tendulkar made headlines in a world-record partnership of 664 with future India teammate Vinod Kambli.

Three years later he became the youngest batsman since Tendulkar to score a century on his Ranji Trophy - India's premier first-class tournament - debut at 17 years and 57 days.

Shaw's even batting with an MRF Genius now - the same bat Tendulkar made famous in the 2000s. Only time will tell how long their paths will stay so parallel.

Tendulkar made two centuries the first time he came down under, one in Sydney and another at Perth. If Shaw manages the same he will cement his status as the most exciting player of the next generation.