Veteran Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir is impressed with the way young batting sensation Prithvi Shaw has started off his Test career, but not happy with people comparing him to one of the greatest Test openers of all time, Virender Sehwag.
The 18-year-old Mumbaikar has lived up to all expectations and hype surrounding his Test debut by hitting a remarkable maiden international century against West Indies in Rajkot last week and with the knock, he became the first Indian opener to hit a century on Test debut.
However, Shaw’s stunning debut show has not surprised many, though, Gambhir is also impressed with the youngster, but doesn’t find it fair to compare him to Sehwag, saying he should not be weighed down by comparisons, as there will be far bigger and difficult challenges awaiting him.
Gambhir told reporters at a promotional event of ‘Vicks’ on Wednesday (October 10), “Whoever is comparing (Prithvi with Sehwag) needs to think twice before comparing. Ultimately you should not compare anyone to anyone. He (Shaw) has just started his career and there is a long way to go.”
He further went on to explain his viewpoint, “I have never believed in comparisons. He (Shaw) has got his own individuality and Sehwag had his own individuality. He (Shaw) has just started his career and someone like Sehwag has played 100 Test matches.”
While praising Shaw, the Delhi batsman said, “Obviously, he’s (Shaw) impressive. He’s very talented and that’s why he is there. The important thing is that he started off his Test career on a very good note but there will be far bigger and far difficult challenges waiting for him.”
Meanwhile, the 36-year-old has also warned the No. 1 Test side to not take Australia lightly only because they don't have Steve Smith and David Warner at their disposal, saying they still have strong line-up and India must practice as much as they can as it will be a key to succeed in Australia. They will play full series in November.
He explained, “England could manage to win in Australia because they went one month early. They played three or four warm-up matches. If you are going overseas, your bowlers should have bowled 80 or 100 overs so your body gets used to it and your batters need runs under their belt. If you go to Australia and playing against Mitchell Stark and Pat Cummins, you have to be ready. They need to rectify those mistakes made in England. It has got to be a challenge (in Australia).”
We talk about the batting because they don't have Smith and Warner but they still have formidable batting in their backyard. They have really exciting players like Shaun Marsh or Aaron Finch. Plus, they have the bowling attack to hurt any opposition. They have the best off-spinner in the world right now. It will not be a cakewalk. Playing Australia in Australia will be a threat.”
He is also hoping that Shaw will succeed in Australia, adding: “I hope so and I think it is important for any opening batter to succeed in Australia because that is where India has struggled in England because there were not good enough opening partnerships. If you want to succeed overseas or anywhere, you need a good platform. I am sure he is going to work really hard because Australia is going to be really challenging.”
On being asked whether the time has come to bring in Rishabh Pant into the White-ball game, as MS Dhoni is in the twilight years of his career, Gambhir replied, “There's never been a right time and there's never been a wrong time. It really depends on the combination and ultimately, it's a performer that will keep you in the side. If MS continues to do well, obviously he should be playing but if someone else does well I think that's where it has got to be.”
He also believes that the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) should come with their justification on the controversy over lack of communication between players and the selectors and team management, as there is a lot of talk regarding the same especially after Karun Nair was overlooked for Windies Tests.
Gambhir signed off by saying, “BCCI needs to answer this question … It’s not up to me. Players say something different and BCCI says something different. It is not about cricket. Even if you get sacked, you will demand an explanation. It is in every profession.”
(Input: Press Trust of India)