The schoolboy who scored a thousand runs in one innings

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Having already broken the record for the highest score in all known cricket, Pranav Dhanawade told his father he would ‘score big tomorrow’, and proceeded to smash his way to a life-changing 1009 not out

 

On Monday morning, Prashant  Dhanawade was plying his autorickshaw as usual around Kalyan, a sleepy northern suburb of Mumbai, when he got a phone call from a friend. “Go to the Union Cricket Academy ground,” his friend said. “Your son has scored 300 and doesn’t look like slowing down.”

Prashant called his wife Mohini and asked her to light up the house in celebration, then rushed to the ground. He watched Pranav score another 300 runs, then returned with Mohini the next morning to watch him cross four figures  and break just about every school-batting record.

By Tuesday evening the modest neighbourhood of Wayale Nagar, where the ground is located, was Cricket Central.

Arre, BBC wale pan yeto aahe! Ho at-tach phone aala  [The BBC guys are on their way! They just called],” said a stray voice at the ground.

Prashant and Mohini struggled to catch their breath in between boundary-side interviews, while Pranav, after spending 396 minutes at the crease, took the field in his wicketkeeping attire, which he gave up after a few overs to field at slip.

Whatever else life holds for the Dhanawades, these two days will be unforgettable. However small the ground and however weak the opposition, this record is now Pranav’s.  His name is in the books. His name figured in all the tweets. Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni praised him, and even Michael Atherton mentioned his achievement in commentary during the Cape Town test between South Africa and England.

“I wasn’t at the ground,” Prashant says. “Pranav’s friend’s father called me up and told me that Pranav has scored a triple-century. I couldn’t believe it. By the time I reached the ground he had crossed 350, and went on and on, breaking record after record, and we didn’t even know that he was breaking them. After going home at night, he himself told me, ‘papa, kal bada score karunga’ [dad, I will score big tomorrow], and today he crossed 1000.”

Pranav’s mother wasn’t aware of the records her son was steadily breaking. “I was at home when [Prashant] called me and asked me to deck up the house. “Your son has scored 300,” he said. He kept calling me from the ground and updating me on his scores, but I didn’t realise anything till it was night. I thought he was just batting well. But when he got home I realised the magnitude of what he had achieved, and I couldn’t have been prouder.”

Everyone was celebrating, even the opposition bowlers – who knew their names would also be part of the record.

Usne mujhe 33 runs maara do over mein [He hit me for 33 runs in two overs], aur do six bhi maara [and also smashed two sixes of me],” Mayank Gupta, tiny and barely out of his puppy fat, says in a chirpy voice filled with pride. Then he points, one after the other, to two of his team-mates. “Usne usko 200 runs maara aur usko bhi [He smacked him for 200 runs, and him too].”

Eventually, even the opposition bowlers were celebrating Pranav Dhanawade's feat - they knew their names would also be part of the record© ESPNcricinfo Ltd
Eventually, even the opposition bowlers were celebrating Pranav Dhanawade’s feat – they knew their names would also be part of the record © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

 

None of this was planned, of course, but it was no accident either. Harish Sharma, Pranav’s school coach, said he promoted the wicketkeeper to open the batting after a chat with him, and asked him to hang in there and build an innings.

“During friendly school matches I sent him in at No. 7 or 8, and when the team needed him the most, he would play a rash shot and get out,” Harish says. “He has a good technique, a wide range of strokes and he’s quite powerful. I then thought that I can send him as an opener and I asked him if he was ready. He grabbed the opportunity and said ‘yes sir, I’ll go’. I made him promise me that if you’re going to open, you have to spend time at the wicket, for which you have to be mentally and physically prepared, to which he agreed.”

The score was Pranav’s first century in any tournament recognised by the Mumbai Cricket Association. “But he has otherwise scored centuries in school cricket and friendly matches,” his father points out. “His game is such that he scores quickly – with that kind of game there are very few chances of scoring a century; he would bat lower down the order because of which he wouldn’t get to face many balls. But now that he opens, he has all the time to score.”

What does the future hold for Pranav? On one hand is the example of Sachin Tendulkar, whose feats of heavy run-scoring as a schoolboy, including the famous partnership with Vinod Kambli, are the stuff of legend. On the other is that of AEJ Collins, who held the previous record score of 628 not out, scored in 1899.

“For a while Collins was public property,” Martin Williamson wrote on ESPNcricinfo.

“Today all men speak of him,” wrote one newspaper. “He has a reputation as great as the most advertised soap: he will be immortalised.”

But Collins never played first-class cricket. It is too early, therefore, to tell what Pranav’s future will look like. But one thing is for sure. Nothing will be the same when he walks out to bat the next time.

His cousin Rugved Lad puts it in perspective. “He’s in tenth [grade] now, so cricket had taken the back seat to studies, though he’s good at both. He also plays kabbadi. But after this, everything has changed. Cricket will definitely be his first priority.”

His school, his neighbourhood club, pretty much every IPL franchise, his Ranji Trophy team, the millions across the world who were following the updates on his feat – everyone hopes it will. (cricinfo article by Srikanth Ravishanker)

 

3 COMMENTS

  1. Dax23 I hear you loud and clear believe me I hear you, but the problem today is that most of our teachers today are busy giving before and after school lesson for a fee and in some cases the fees are high. So no time is left for anything else, for instance when last you heard of a school sport where you have track and field, no I’m not just talking track events here…… field events jumping high and broad, shot put, javelin just to name a few and school sports is an annual event so my friend other things like cricket, football, tennis etc is a no no!.Kids that are doing well these days in sports is because their parents investing heavily in these activities outside of school. Our schools and teachers these days are more interesting in having our kids write 15 and 20+ subjects, the trick being more lessons and fees to pay, whatever happen to a well balance kid who can not just work and play hard, but do well and trust me these are the kind of youth we should raising for this rich and mix society of ours. what is the point in my kids having 15 and 20+ subjects and knows nothing about say race relations, the point here is that sports help with interaction with student, friends and families……. as a people we need to refocus and quick

  2. School cricket is thriving all over India. No wonder that country has produced some of the most famous cricketers of all time. School cricket is the nursery for potential/great cricketers. Once upon a time in Guyana, there were inter school cricket. Then followed by inter branch, inter island in case of Wakenaam/Leguan and all the other competitions leading up to the best from Essequibo, Demerara and Berbice. These competition were organised by teachers and the union the then GTA, now GTU. What is happening now? Nothing as far as school cricket is concerned. There needs to be rehabilitation of all school grounds as a start. Schools should be provided with cricket gears. Cricket coaching sessions done across the country; not only in Georgetown. A start needs to be made, earlier, the better

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