Prtihvi Shaw, on Saturday, became the fourth Indian – after Mohammad Kaif, Virat Kohli and Unmukt Chand – to lead a side to an Under-19 World Cup triumph. The tag of favourites Shaw and company didn’t slip throughout the tournament. The eight-wicket win over Australia (with over 10 overs remaining) in the final was their most challenging victory.
“There was general belief that ‘we are the best’,” the 18-year-old told told the Indian Express. “Our preparations started two years ago. During camps and while playing, we got to know each other well.”
For this he credited his illustrious coach Rahul Dravid and the other support staff. About Dravid, Shaw said, “He is legend but he created such an environment that we could talk to him like a friend. He is such a simple man. The way he carries himself is remarkable. After the win he told us to remain grounded.”
“On a personal level, Dravid told me that an opener’s contribution is key because it will help achieve a big target or help set a big target. So your wicket is important in all formats.”
With the bat, Shaw performed well – he made 261 runs in five innings at 65.25 – but the burden of captaincy also he carried without discomfort. “I really enjoyed captaining this bunch of lads and they really supported me to throughout this journey,” he said, “When you are leading the side, one has to be more focused. I have captained my state as well my school teams.”
Shaw revealed the team didn’t sleep, celebrating the title win. “I didn’t even look at my phone (after the win) and only saw all the congratulatory messages in the morning. I tried to get in touch with my father but his phone was switched off. I am sure it was a busy day for him too.”
The success was expected, but when it arrived, the feeling it created was the best Shaw’s ever had. Now, the prodigious Mumbai lad’s looking ahead. “I want to do the same at the senior level but there is still a long way for that. Soon we won’t be teenagers anymore and will enter a man’s world. Life, and the game of cricket, will throw new challengers at us and we hope to overcome them.”
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