Mumbai has always had a tradition of batsmen piling on mammoth scores at the school level.
Fourteen-year-old Prithvi Shaw though,took it to the next level with his 546-run knock for Rizvi Springfield in the Harris Shield tournament against St Francis DAssisi at Azad Maidan Wednesday.
The diminutive right-handers quintuple century is the highest score in any level of cricket for 112 years,and the highest for an Indian. He was also the first Indian to cross the 500-run mark in an innings since Chaman Lals unbeaten 502 in Patiala in 1956.
Unbeaten on 257 overnight,the teen batsman pushed to create history,and eventually fell short of beating the next highest score by 20 runs-made in Hobart in 1901-02 by CJ Eady.
The little boy began tiring after spending over six hours at the crease,and resorted to the long handle,smashing 85 boundaries and five sixes over the course of his innings.
Luck did favour him as he was dropped on seven occasions over the one-and-a-half days that he batted. With 550 in his sights,the right-hander danced down the track but only managed to get a leading edge that was easily caught by the bowler.
Though Shaw is no stranger to three-figure scores,here he bettered his previous best,225,by 321 runs.
While steadily raising his own batting stature,the opening batsmans early childhood saw his passion overcome personal hardships. He lost his mother when he was four. Ever since,his father Pankaj has been his coach,mentor and motivation.
The youngsters love for the game encouraged him to travel 66 km from home to practice at the MIG Club in Bandra everyday.
The journey,on which his father accompanied him,required him to make sure he was ready at Virar station to catch the 6.09 am train to his destination in order to avoid the rush.
Over the years,his eye-catching performances have grabbed eyeballs across the citys maidans and has even influenced a local politician to help the father-son duo find accommodation in the nearby Santa Cruz suburb.
His performances at the junior level also alerted former Mumbai leg-spinner Nilesh Kulkarni,whose company organised an exchange program to Manchester for the young all-rounder.
The trip overseas proved to be a successful one as the youngster,debuting under windy,cold conditions that influenced the swing,continued where he left off – scoring a century in his first game for the Cheadle Hulme School in a Division A match.
The second time he traveled he turned out for Gloucestershire Seconds Colts XI.
His outing on Wednesday,according to coach Raju Pathak and the senior Shaw,served him well. He was always an aggressive player. He used to score well,but he always had the tendency of playing rash shots. That has reduced now and hes been playing more sensibly, explained Pathak.
The youngster,who is a handy leg-spinner as well,has maintained a close association with Sachin Tendulkar.
He came to watch me play at the MIG. He saw me bat,and then after I was done he came up to me and told me that I was a bit too tense and needed to loosen up. He told me to play my natural game, recalled Shaw. Tendulkars son Arjun is Shaws teammate at MIG Club.
Shaws achievement was glistened by his schools head of education department announcing a bond worth Rs 1 lakh for the young cricketer,along with a scholarship for all future studies the prodigy wishes to pursue.