Comparisons to India’s ‘god of cricket’ Sachin Tendulkar have not always helped Prithvi Shaw as he seeks to put a doping ban and injury worries behind him and cement his place in the national side.
Shaw, now 20, was instantly linked with Tendulkar when he matched the feat of the ‘Little Master’ by scoring centuries for Mumbai on his debuts in the domestic Ranchi and Duleep tournaments in 2017.
Therefore, Shaw led India to victory at the U-19 World Cup, and burst into the Test squad in 2018 with a match-winning 134 against West Indies, becoming the youngest Indian to score a century on debut at 18 years, 10 months and 25 days.
An ankle injury ruled him out of India’s historic first Test series triumph in Australia last year, and he was then slapped with a back-dated eight-month ban for taking a prohibited anti-asthma drug.
Former Test opener Wasim Jaffer tipped Shaw as a special talent, stating he needs to be disciplined to raise him up to the level of Tendulkar.
Jaffer also said every rising batsman in Mumbai circles is right away compared to Tendulkar but everything boils down to performance.
“He is a special talent and I am a little disappointed with the way things have taken its course after his ankle injury and then his ban for using the banned substance,” Wasim Jaffer told AFP.
“Seeing all these troubles, I think he is very, very talented. But he needs to be disciplined if he wants to achieve great things,” Jaffer also said.
“He is living in those Indian circles where he has got role models like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan who are all so disciplined,” he added.
Jaffer said Shaw has to be mentally equipped to deal with the pressures, like any international star.
“Whenever you perform at the top level, the media and the people hype you so much, but it is an individual’s responsibility to learn,” said Jaffer.
“Virat keeps himself grounded. Every rising batsman in Mumbai circles is right away compared to Tendulkar. Everything boils down to performance,” he added
Shaw said he was only eight when he first met Tendulkar. He said he regards the batting legend as a mentor and sometimes speaks to him about the mental challenges of the game.