HomeAnalysisLet's spare Prithvi Shaw the burden of comparisons

Let’s spare Prithvi Shaw the burden of comparisons

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Love is crucial to life. It underpins everything we stand for. But it’s meaning becomes only more intense when you place the phrase in the context of India and subject it to cricket.
Here’s what can’t be denied.

How deep is our love for our cricketers?

The love for cricket- impractical to many that it may be- lays bare the standing testimony to the passion there is for the sport in India. When Sachin got out, we shut the TV.
Thankfully, Kohli came in and can be seen everywhere, thanks to Wi-Fi, hotspot and live-streaming. The Indian team’s talent has pushed us to switch open the TV and remain transfixed.
In explaining the magnitude of love India reserves for its cricketers, one need not go beyond suggesting we worship Tendulkar? In which other countries, an achiever, ultimately a mortal, get such profound love?
This precisely leads to a question that often escapes a fulfilling answer.
Are our expectations of men, ultimately of flesh and bones, real? Moreover, when we subject one to the somewhat irrational thought of comparison, utterly self-stitched, what do we exactly wish to convey? For starters, the person who reminds us of another, in most cases belonging to a glorious past, cannot be that person- can he?
When India stood united to applaud that 134, an effort that cannot be described in any other way other than fantastic, there was a great joy.
It was pure. It was heartfelt. You can sing praises of Prithvi Shaw even hours after his maiden Test ton and still, you’d struggle to sufficiently describe his mighty confidence.
The joy at seeing 134 preciously collected runs; most of them carved with the experience of a regular Test feature made nearly an entire cricket-viewing country unite in admiration.
But such is India. It has a large heart; a capacity to endure, to bear, and yet, rests a lot of heart to love.

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And in here lies a catch.

To love someone, the way we admired Prithvi is natural and fine, but to subject one to comparisons is tricky. It’s the sort of scenario where you buy the best-possible T-shirt for a favourite cousin, except what you’ve bought for he or she isn’t really of the individual’s liking.
No sooner than Prithvi Shaw produced a few elegant strokes and converted a fine start into a fighting century did he become the next Virendra Sehwag.
Praise was but natural for his debut exploits.
But was suggesting that a near re-birth of Sehwag had occurred needed?
How does that help Prithvi’s game? In fact, does it increase the fans’ bank-balance?
The amount of time Prithvi has spent in international cricket conveys a commonly felt notion. That he’s meant for big things is something you could scream from the top of your lungs at the rooftop, only for it to echo and reverberate all around you.
Forget not that he’s India’s World Cup-winning captain for the Under-19 team.
That he also played well in the IPL makes him special.

But can’t we just let Prithvi Shaw be Prithvi Shaw?

But he’s just started. Let him breathe.
Can the Indian fan ever express what he achieves at the behest of time-travelling along with his two favourite companions: one, a subject from the current moment and the other, the one who once was in the ‘current?’
The same way Shane Watson didn’t have to be a Kallis and Darren Bravo didn’t have to be Brian Lara, Prithvi Shaw doesn’t have to be Virender Sehwag.
Inspiration is positive, a forced sighting of imitation- Prithvi bats like Viru- is needless.
If the simple statement uttered by every caring Indian mother to her son holds any key, then there’s a sense to nearly every son in India is told, he is special.
Prithvi is special. But so is Pujara, who didn’t have to become Rahul Dravid- part II.
On March 9, 2012, the Wall bid adieu with a firm hope that youngsters were talented enough to carry on India’s baton. He didn’t appoint Pujara as his torchbearer.
That same way, Sehwag and Prithvi Shaw- similar that they may seem for their attacking batting instincts- haven’t cut out a deal with one another.
We’ve got to be real. For instance, Shikhar Dhawan was once this ‘one of a kind, special talent’ when he famously twirled his moustache and struck 187 against Australia at Mohali, with a team that had Sachin and Virat Kohli in it.
Inside five years of that knock, the same Dhawan finds his head butchered by the fans at his England failure. But did he knock doors personally, pleading to the viewer of overly celebrating him?

Still, the things Shikhar pulls off, few others can.

Despite being massively out of touch right before the 2015 World Cup, he produced his finest fifty against South Africa. Morne couldn’t stop him, nor could Steyn.
He went to Sri Lanka over a year ago and struck run-a-ball Test hundreds.
But the fan is yet to answer why he gets unreal.
When Unmukt Chand arrived, hitting big sixes for DD, it seemed India had a new Daredevil. He was bloody gifted.
Where’s he and why’s he where he is, neither we know nor does the fan.
Imagine the precariousness the same Sachin-loving Viru might have felt had he been compared to the Little Master’s craft at the back of one-inning?
Viru truly loves Sachin. So to be compared to the very man he looked up to was the greatest confidence booster.
But Sachin carried expectations of billions before Sehwag walked on the crease.
That Viru held onto his own, despite his Sachin devotion, speaks just as well of the “Butcher of Multan” as it does of Sachin inspiring brigade followers, some of them, matchwinners in their own right.
Having said that, maybe there’s something inherently present and yet, unspotted in the fans’ fetish for comparing.
It points to a callousness at having not moved on from the past well-enough to respect what lies in the present.
Shashi Tharoor is right when he says, how can you appreciate your future when you don’t know where you’re coming from, in his appraisal of Indian youth often not knowing well of its own roots.
But if an enlightened one were to be seated amid the ever-doting Indian fan in a stadia, he might have been compelled to ask, what is it that you seek when you seek in someone, another?
Tomorrow Prithvi might score another hundred. Will we cause street-mayhem saying, ‘the man who’ll go past 100 hundreds of Sachin, finally found?”
Tomorrow, he may score a duck.
Will we start despising him?
Why can’t we give Prithvi Shaw some breathing space?

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Dev Tyagi
Dev Tyagi
Dravid believer, admirer of - the square drive, Drew Barrymore, Germany, Finland, Electric Mobility, simplicity and the power of the written word! Absolutely admire contributing to KyroSports

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