India news November 20, 2013

Mumbai teenager hits record 546

Prithvi Pankaj Shaw, a 14-year-old from Mumbai, has entered the record books after smashing 546 runs - the highest score by an Indian batsman in minor cricket - during a Harris Shield match at the Azad Maidan in Mumbai. Shaw's innings lasted 367 minutes over two days and included a whopping 85 fours and five sixes which helped his team, Rizvi Springfield, take an 899-run first-innings lead in the A division match against St Francis D'Assisi.

Even though the boundary on one side of the ground - towards midwicket/point - was on the shorter side, a number of Shaw's shots targeted the longer boundaries as he preferred the cover drive and flick. During his 330-ball innings, Shaw, a right-hand batsman, shared a 619-run stand for the second wicket with Satyalaksh Jain, who scored 164.

The Baronet Club's ground on the eastern edge of the Azad Maidan was easy to spot today as the news of Shaw's feat spread quickly. The local print media, which covers the tournament regularly, had the company of mediapersons from national dailies and news channels.

Mobbed by television cameras after the end of Rizvi's innings, a calm Shaw said, "It is a good score for me and my team. Our coach just asked me to concentrate on every ball. The only plan was to score as many runs as we could. I wasn't thinking of a record, but it feels good."

Shaw is no stranger to Mumbai cricket circles. In the past, he has not only made news for being a heavy-scorer in the local tournaments but also for reportedly being praised by Sachin Tendulkar, whose then-world-record partnership of 664 with Vinod Kambli came in the same tournament. It wasn't a surprise then when a reporter drew parallels with Tendulkar. Shaw momentarily cocked his brow before answering with a straight face. "It's too far ahead. For now, I am happy playing at this level and scoring the runs," he said. "Tendulkar is my idol in cricket and one thing I try to pick up from him is how he carries himself in a humble manner."

Shaw's story, like several others', is one of hard work. Before the age of 10, Shaw was already making long trips from Virar, a suburb 65 kms north of Mumbai, to the fairly central Bandra - a journey that takes 1 hour 45 minutes - to practice with the right people after his talent was spotted. The only family Shaw has is his father, who runs a struggling garment business. Support came through timely intervention from a local MLA, who arranged for an apartment so that the two could stay in Santacruz east, ten minutes away from Bandra's MIG club. Now, Shaw's education is been taken care of by the school - Rizvi Springfields - while he also earns a scholarship, which helps run the house.

He is currently the captain of the Mumbai Under-16 team, which includes his seniors from Rizvi - Armaan Jaffer, Mumbai and India opener Wasim Jaffer's nephew, and Sarfaraz Khan, who has progressed to India Under-19s. During the course of his innings on Wednesday, Shaw went past the previous records set by these two batsmen - in 2009, Sarfaraz had scored 439, which was bettered to 498 by Armaan in 2010-11. Armaan also scored 473 in February 2013, in the Giles Shield.

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo