Only three half-centuries in five Ranji Trophy games doesn’t match the lofty standards that he has set for himself but a pragmatic Mumbai captain Prithvi Shaw also knows that cricket is mirror image of life where the change in graph is the only constant thing.
Leading domestic powerhouse Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy final against a gutsy Madhya Pradesh team is Shaw’s current assignment and he doesn’t want his tunnel vision to waver thinking about not being in England or not even finding his name in the Ireland-bound T20I team.
“I have scored a couple (three) of fifties but that’s not enough for me for sure and no one even congratulated me after scoring a fifty and you feel bad as well (jokingly),” the Mumbai skipper replied to a query from PTI on the eve of the big final.
“It happens sometimes but I am glad that my team is doing well. As a captain, I have to think of all 21 players I have got here and not just about me,” he added.
And then the flamboyant stroke-maker turned a tad philosophical.
“In cricket and in life, the graph always goes up and down and it’s never going to always go up. So it’s a just a matter of time that I middle those balls and get those big runs again. But right now, I want to ensure that my team is doing fine and is enjoying its game,” the skipper said.
So doesn’t national comeback bother him at all? “It’s nowhere near my mind you know – comeback to the Indian team. Getting the Cup is my main motive and not thinking anything other than winning this one,” the skipper made his priorities clear.
“The preparation what we have done for the Ranji Trophy and not focusing on what’s happening on the outside. It’s about winning the Ranji Trophy and getting those happy moments back.”
At the age of 22, Shaw has played 33 first-class games but when someone asked him about his message for “youngsters” in the team, everyone had to suppress their grin.
But his answer showed what his coach Amol Muzumdar had earlier said during the day – “Prithvi enjoys and has a knack for captaincy”.
“First thing I would say, is that I am proud of them and how far they have come and just want to say, go there and enjoy. I tell the youngsters in the side that it’s the same kind of things that you have done at U-25 or U-19s, just the degree of difficulty becomes more,” he said.
“For me, the result doesn’t matter but the effort they put in does. I just tell them, do what you have been doing all these years,” he said.
Shaw and the two pillars of this Mumbai team, Arman Jaffer and this season’s top-scorer Sarfaraz Khan have one thing in common — they have all been students of the same school Rizvi Springfields, known for its formidable cricket team that dominates Harris and Giles Shield (iconic Mumbai school tournaments) events.
“Myself, Sarfaraz and Arman went to the same school (Rizvi Springfield) at the age of 9-10. We came up together and all three of us are doing pretty good so far for Mumbai cricket,” one could sense his pride.
While it is Prithvi’s second Ranji Trophy final (he played one in 2017 vs Gujarat), Arman and Sarfaraz will be playing their first summit clash.
“It’s about how we look at this game and it’s going to be a different pressure for a lot of people,” he said.
“And we have got a young side and not many of them have played these kind of finals and are not experienced that much.
“But they are ready for it and what they are doing since the league games is what I am watching. We have got a skillful, talented side and what they have achieved till now, they just have to carry on for one more game.”
When Shaw first came into the Mumbai side, Chandrakant Pandit was the coach and as he captains the 41-time champions in a Ranji final, the shrewd tactician will be at the other end.
“I think after five years, I could make an eye contact with Chandu sir,” he laughed cheekily.
“It wasn’t like this in 2016 or 17. Everyone knows Chandu sir is a tough man and it is good to meet sir after a long time.
“I think he has done well for MP as they have reached the finals after so many years. We just spoke for a couple of minutes and may be we are both getting into the zone of finals and didn’t want to talk much.” At his corner will be domestic legend Amol Muzumdar and Shaw termed his guidance as a “privilege”.
“Everyone knows Amol sir has played a lot of domestic cricket and scored a lot of runs and he has all the experience and we are very lucky to have him,” he said.
“Its good to have Amol sir in the dressing room, sharing all his experiences. It’s a privilege. On and off the field he is very calm and we all enjoy his company, and what he has done for Mumbai cricket is exceptional and I hope he is really happy about how we players have responded.”
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