Pune: Chinchwad resident Pavan Shah, who plays at top order for Maharashtra is all set to lead the India Under-19 team to the Asia Cup, which is scheduled to start in Dhaka from September 29.
Pavan Shah who has replaced Aryan Juyal as the captain, is busy preparing for the upcoming tournament.
“There were many ups and downs. I have been enjoying the journey and also have been learning a lot. There have also been some difficult times which I have faced, but I had self belief which is important for the game and I want to go on,” Shah told Sakal Times in an interview.
“I have been playing since eight years. I started from PCMC Varroc Vengsarkar Cricket Academy. I have got a lot of support from there. All my skills have improved during my training at the academy.
Vijay Patil, who looks after my fitness and coach Mohan Jadhav have trained hard with me. They are like a family to me. They have been good mentors to me. Also my parents have supported me in difficult times. They never backed out,” Shah informed.
Speaking about how his journey unfolded Shah said “After giving a good performance at the academy, I got selected for the state-level and then to the zonal level. I got selected to the West Zone. After performing in the inter-zonal tournament I got selected for the Indian Under-19 team.”
During the Sri Lanka tour Shah scored a memorable knock of 282, which played a major role for him being selected as the captain of the team.
Shah said that when he took to cricket he never thought that he would get a chance to play for the country but only when his performance improved Shah began to think about representing India one day.
“And when that happened it was a pleasant thing and I have been giving my best,” Shah added.
Speaking about the team Shah was all praise for the team effort put in. “I have been playing with these guys. They are a good bunch of cricketers along with a good support staff. I always thought to captain this team some day and the dream has come true now. I will enjoy this for sure,” Shah said.
When quizzed about the preparations for the Asia Cup, Shah said “We are not doing anything different. We are just trying to play simple cricket. We are focusing on our strategies. The bonding has been every well. Players always back the captain which has been amazing. Players here don’t think of individual performance and always back the team. We will go there and give it our best shot and try to get the cup home.”
For Shah, former India captain MS Doni remains an idol. “When I met him, I was very happy. I was not able to speak a word with him,. I was shivering with excitement. He has motivated us. He has taught us about self belief which is very important in cricket.”
Pavan shah factfile
Name: Pavan Shah
Best innings: Slammed the second highest individual score in Youth Tests against Sri Lanka. Scored 282 off 332 balls thanks to 33 fours and one six. The record currently belongs to Australia’s Clinton Peake who scored an unbeaten 304 against India at Melbourne in March 1995.
Favourite game (other than cricket): Badminton
Favourite cricketer: MS Dhoni
Favourite sportsperson: Roger Federer.