Prithvi Shaw proved that there is something magical about the city’s vast maidans — Azad and Cross — in South Mumbai, Rizvi Springfield High School and the famous Giles (U-14) and Harris Shield (U-16) cricket tournaments. The deadly combination has created run machines at the junior level.
In the last five years, Sarfaraz Khan and Armaan Jaffer came to the spotlight with thundering quadruple centuries and the city’s discerning took notice of their gifts with the bat.
On Wednesday Shaw, representing Rizvi Springfield, batted his way to glory in the first round of the Mumbai School Sports Association’s Harris Shield Elite Division match against St. Francis D’Assisi (Borivali). The 14-year-old ninth standard student rode rough shod over the hapless rival attack at the Baronet CC pitch, Azad maidan and created history with a record 546.
Sarfaraz Khan had made 439 at the MB Union pitch, Cross maidan, in a Harris Shield match against IES (Kandivli) in November 2009. Since then he has made steady progress and is almost a certainty for the ICC U-19 world cup to be played early next year in Dubai. He made a rousing 66-ball 101 against South Africa U-19 in a quadrangular tournament in Visakhapatnam in September.
Armaan Jaffer made 498 in a Giles Shield match in December 2010 and then 473 in a Harris Shield match in February 2103. Armaan was instrumental in Mumbai U-19 team’s success in the last season.
While Sarfaraz and Armaan have kept their reputation intact with a high degree of consistency, Shaw did not lag far behind and in fact recently scored his first century in a Kanga League elite division match. He has been in the inter-school tournament since 2009 and he drew on the experience to take heavy toll of a school promoted to the elite division this season.
He played for six hours and seven minutes, faced 300 balls and struck 85 fours and five 6s. He opened the innings with Vaibhav Kalamkar and was on 108 in a partnership of 153, and then was on 531 in the second wicket stand of 619 with Satyalaksh Jain, who made 164. He faced eight bowlers; all right hand seamers and spinners.
Shaw opened the innings after his school dismissed D’Assisi for 92 in 38 overs after lunch on Tuesday. The Baronet CC pitch is surrounded by pitches belonging to Fort Vijay, Navroze CC, Times of India SC, John Bright and Bohra Brothers and it can be said that the playing fields of all six clubs would fit into a large Test match venue. The imaginary boundary lines are short, but it was at one of such venue that Sachin Tendulkar made an unbeaten 346 and he and Vinod Kambli put on 664 for the third wicket for their school in February 1988.
Soon after completing his record effort, the innocent looking Shaw told The Hindu, “The team coach told me to stay at the wicket and play the ball on its merit. I have a number of centuries in inter-school cricket, but my previous highest was 225. I have been playing at the Azad maidan since 2008.’’
Shaw is the captain of the Mumbai U-16 team for the BCCI’s Vijay Merchant Trophy. He has spent in quality time playing at Manchester and Gloucestershire in the last few years. It seems as if the likes of Sarfaraz, Armaan and Prithvi will continue to make news with their scintillating efforts with their bat.