Prithvi had a tough childhood, as his mother died when he was only four years old and Shaw was brought up entirely by his Father. Pankaj Shaw sold his small clothes shop to focus on Prithvi’s cricket and his upbringing, surviving on a meagre salary.
A charity that has helped contribute to Prithvi’s development is UK based, Cricket Beyond Boundaries (CBB). The Charity, which was founded by Dr Samir Pathak in 2011, initially brought Prithvi to the UK in 2012 and fully funded his stay and travels. He was sent on the recommendation of former Indian spinner Nilesh Kulkarni and veteran journalist Makarand Waingankar. Prithvi spent three months at Cheadle Hulme School where he became accustomed to the seaming wickets and different conditions. Prithvi attended classes in the mornings and focussed on physical fitness and skill-specific drills in the afternoons as well as playing matches
During this stint he lived with Ian Milligan and his Family and hence Shaw’s confidence in English speaking also improved leaps and bounds. Struggles with the British cuisine also hardened his boyish exterior. There is no doubt that this stint helped Prithvi grow as a person- it is reflected in each media interview he gives now. Prithvi displayed the necessary resilience to match his talent. His first match was played with the temperature at just 8C. He stood shivering in the field, wearing three jumpers. Indeed, there was certainly was no immediate success with the bat but he stuck to his principles, listening to those around him – he was soon scoring runs. The 13 year-old boy embraced his new surroundings and showed respect and good humour to all. He left the Manchester area with confidence and a host of new friends.
In 2014 after he had slammed 546 runs in the Harris Shield, Prithvi returned to play for Cleethorpes in the Yorkshire League and had a successful season without scoring as heavily as he had done in India. He did not score a single century but one should remember that he was only 14 years of age at the time. He was able to develop parts of his game in new conditions that he hadn’t experienced before. The young Shaw averaged 30 for the season. One means of measuring this is to look at what Joe Root averaged as a 14 year old in the same league- 23!
CBB has brought over 20 young cricketers from India to the UK over the last 5 years. Another beneficiary is Sarfaraz Khan, who has recently been retained by the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL. Other than state level cricketers, CBB has also supported cricketers who are orphans and who live on the equivalent of 10 pence per day to come and gain an education and experience cricket at Durham School. One of these youngsters, Rupesh Borade returned to play cricket as a semi-professional for South Shields CC in 2017. CBB aims to expand the number of cricketers supported in India and also to promote the women’s game and grow its outreach to include all cricket playing countries
The road ahead is one to look forward to for Prithvi and the other youngsters in the U-19 team. We congratulate them all and wish them the very best as they embark on some very promising careers ahead. CBB aims to continue to support grass roots cricketers and see them scale great heights.