“Less than a week after India bid its final farewell to the Little Master, the Master’s Apprentice conjured an innings of almost supernatural brilliance,” these are the words of Howard Swains for Prithvi Shaw and his record breaking 546 in 2013.
Making the highest score in any organised form of cricket at the time to making a century on debut for Mumbai in the Ranji trophy. A century on his Duleep trophy debut was followed with being the youngest debutant to score a test century. An U-19 World Cup win was achieved which ultimately led to a big fat cheque in the IPL auctions. There was an element of inevitability associated with the meteoric rise of Prithvi Shaw.
But the news of his doping violation and the imminent ban has taken the world by surprise. According to a BCCI release, he had inadvertently ingested a prohibited substance named terbutaline, which can be commonly found in over the counter cough syrups. He did a silly mistake. Shaw accepted the punishment and we all can just move on, right?. But no, questions need to be asked.
How does it happen that a cricketer affiliated with the richest cricket board in the whole world was not told about such actions and their repercussions? It was a failure on the part of his mentors and BCCI. He is still a young kid with a plethora of talent. The youngster needs to be nurtured well to allow him to serve our country in the foreseeable future.
BCCI was satisfied with Prithvi’s explanation that he had taken the drug inadvertently to treat respiratory tract infection and not as a performance-enhancing drug. Thus, Shaw was suspended for a period of eight months together with disqualification of certain results.
The eight-month period of ineligibility will be deemed to have started to run on 16th March 2019 and will end at midnight on 15th November 2019. Also, Under BCCI ADR Article 10.11.2, a Cricketer may return to train with a team or to use the facilities of a club or other member organisation of a Signatory’s member organisation during the last two months of the cricketer’s period of ineligibility or the last one-quarter of the period of ineligibility imposed, whichever is earlier.
Support of Cricketers and Commentator
Former and present cricketers such as Dilip Vengsarkar and Manoj Tiwary along with prominent individuals such as Harsha Bhogale have come out in support of the teenager. Vengsarkar felt that the punishment handed out to Shaw was a bit harsh considering the magnitude of the offence. Whereas, Manoj Tiwary wished him well and hoped that he would come back more focused and stronger. Harsha Bhogle also issued a warning that Indian cricket needs to handle Prithvi Shaw carefully and set him on the right path as he has come up the ladder and achieved success the hard way.
Cricket has grown increasingly professional in recent times. This whole saga could be a lesson for fellow cricketers that there is no place for such mistakes in the sporting world. Shaw is lucky that he is young and has many years of cricket left in him. He can mend his ways and take his destined place in the upper echelon of World cricket. Let’s just hope that he does not go the Vinod Kambli way, who was another Mumbai batsman with prodigious, world-class talent but never quite fulfilled his potential.