With Prithvi Shaw scoring a ton in his maiden Test against West Indies at Rajkot, the teenage sensation has invited comparisons with Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag from fans and the media. Speaking to reporters at the press conference ahead of the 2nd Test, skipper Virat Kohli insisted that the 18-year-old should be given space to grow. “I don’t think he should be rushed into anything yet because you need to give a youngster a space to grow, in his own abilities. This guy is supremely talented and he has got great ability as everyone saw,” the captain said.
Shaw scored 134 runs in 154 balls in the first innings of the first Test. Kohli admired the talent and said that Shaw is a sharp learner who plays as per the situations. “We definitely think he (Shaw) has it in him to play at the highest level and he can repeat what he did in the first game. He is a very keen learner, a sharp guy. He understands situations well. We are all very happy for him,” the 29-year-old said.
But the captain insisted that he should not be compared to former legends as it might put pressure on him. “We shouldn’t compare him to anyone yet. We shouldn’t put him in a space where he feels pressure of any kind and he should be left in a space where he enjoys his cricket and slowly grows into a player we all believe in,” Kohli said.
The right-hand batsman talked about how tournaments such as IPL, the India A tours and the U-19 tournaments have allowed youngsters to pick up quickly. “Definitely it could be one of the reasons (early exposure) because they are already exposed to the environment that the international game would replicate. But there’s always pressure of playing for the country. When you get that cap in the morning of the game, there’s always butterflies in the stomach and I am sure everyone feels that pressure,” he said.
“But I am sure it is not as intense as 10-15 years back, when you didn’t have any exposure in this kind of cricket and suddenly you are put out there in a Test match making your debut for India – the highest or toughest thing there could be,” he added.
— BCCI (@BCCI) October 11, 2018
Speaking about his 24th Test ton in Rajkot, Kohli said that the conditions pushed him towards building his innings slowly. “You also have to realise that by the time the middle-order walked in at that game, the ball was soft. The pitch was not as quick, the harder ball comes onto the bat, so you have more boundary opportunities,” he said. But he added that one can also race away to a century in Test cricket if the conditions allow them. ‘
“You can run your way to a hundred as well. There’s no harm in that, I think with that mindset you understand your game you can bat all day, you can bat for two days and just score in singles and doubles,” he said.
“You don’t necessarily need to hit a boundary and if you are convinced about that in your own head then the bowler gets to know as well and then the battle of patience starts. So I think you have to be convinced first that you can play all day with singles and doubles and not necessarily wanting to hit the big shots but given an opportunity, obviously you’ll cash in on the loose balls,” Kohli added.
The 2nd Test between India and West Indies begins from Friday.
‘Dukes balls most suited for Test cricket’
Kohli also expressed his displeasure at the poor quality of the SG balls used by India in home conditions. “The Dukes ball, I think, is the most suited ball for Test cricket. If there’s a situation I would vouch for that to be used all over the world because of the consistency of the ball and how the bowlers are in the game at any stage, even the spinners, because the seam is so hard and upright,” he said.
He further said that he agress with Ashwin over the complaints on the quality of balls. “I totally agree with him. To have a ball scuffed up in five overs is something that we haven’t seen before. The quality of the ball used to be quite high before and I don’t understand the reason why it has gone down. A Dukes ball is still good quality, Kookaburra is still good quality. Whatever limitations a Kookaburra might have (seam goes flat), the quality is never compromised,” he said.