Leave Shaw Alone, Demands Kohli, Asks People To Give The Teenager Space

Prithvi Shaw is in the limelight in Indian cricket now as the teenager became the youngest-ever to score a century on debut for the country. As always, he was immediately lifted to dizzy heights and comparisons with former greats began coming in thick and fast. India skipper Virat Kohli, however, is not a great fan of all the focus being on the teenager and demanded that the talented batsman be left alone and some space be given to the teenage sensation, whose batting has drawn parallels with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag.

Hailed as a child prodigy, Shaw had a cracking Test debut against the West Indies team, hitting 134 off 154 balls in the first Test against Rajkot. The knock led to a media frenzy and a series of comments on how he is destined for greatness.

On the eve of the second Test in Hyderabad, Kohli, who tasted stardom quite early himself, took queries on the 18-year-old and called for some space.

“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,” Kohli said at the pre-match press conference.

“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,” he added.

Kohli echoed India opener Gautam Gambhir, who Wednesday said that people should stop comparing him to Sehwag.

“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.”

Tournaments like the IPL, the A tours, live coverage of the U-19 tournaments put youngsters under instant spotlight and Kohli agreed that they are more equipped to handle pressure situations.

“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.

“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.

“So I agree with the fact that they have played in situations in the IPL where they play in front of so many people that they are not nervous anymore at the big stage.

“…I think they are not overawed by the scenario and I think that’s always going to be an advantage because the guys coming in can start doing the job from game one which both these young guys have done that and Hanuma (Vihari) as well. They are supremely confident guys, those who are coming up (the ranks),” Kohli said.

The skipper scored his 24th hundred in Rajkot where he ran nearly 100 runs (99) in singles and doubles.

The master batsman believes that he has now reached a stage where he can bat for two days piling up runs in singles and doubles.

“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,” Kohli said.

(With PTI inputs)

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