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The hidden story behind Pranav Dhanawade's monumental knock

The ground was oddly shaped and Dhanawade survived 25 chances of dismissal during his knock of 1009 runs against a makeshift team.

Pranav Dhanawade playing the historic knock

Pranav Dhanawade’s innings of 1009 unbeaten runs off 323 deliveries will remain etched in the fabric of folklore. The Mumbai under-16 cricketer created history with a strike rate of 312.38 in 395 minutes. In the school tournament that was going on, during which this magnificent feat was achieved, Dhanawade’s school team declared their innings after having scored a total of 1465 runs.

As spectacular a feat as it is, the Pranav Dhanawade innings did get its own share of criticisms. The ground was oddly shaped and there was supposedly no competition. There were 25 chances that Dhanawade survived: 22 catches and three stumpings, to reach the thousand plus figure.

Ayush Dubey, a ten-year-old, was a bowler playing against Dhanawade. Having bowled 23 overs across two days, the budding cricketer admitted having asked his tormentor to give his team a break.

“Bas kar na. Aur kitna marega? I told him. But he asked me to go back and said ‘Ja, ja bowling kar. Aur bahut maarna hai’,” Dubey said, as it is reported by Indian Express.

Ayush’s classmate, Sarth Salunke, had opened the bowling attack. Ayush, standing at 4.4 feet and Sarth at 4.5 bowled half the overs of the match between themselves.

Incidentally, neither Ayush nor Sarth, both U-12 cricketers at best, were supposed to play that game. Not only were they not in the same age-group or league, they weren’t even the right size. Neither had played in a match where bowlers could bowl more than 9-overs each. They hadn’t bowled on a pitch longer than 16 yards.

Team selection for the match

The Arya Gurukul coach Yogesh Jagtap was not quite preparing for battle even though there were just five days to go for the two-day league encounter against Dhanawade’s school. He was instead left scrambling to find 11 players ready to play. According to brand-new school regulations, the principal had decreed that 10th standard students would not be allowed to play matches post January 1. That ruled out all five of the team’s key players.

“I was in Jalgaon when I found out (about the new rule) and was frantically messaging the principal trying to get a clear picture. This was during the Christmas break and the match was scheduled for the first day after reopening and he said he would allow the 9th standard kids to play,” Jagtap said.

Of the three students from the 9th standard, one who had attended the MCA U-14 camp the previous year had been barred from playing cricket by his parents and the other two had been left out owing to disciplinary reasons. Based truly on instinct, Jagtap assembled 12 players most of whom had never played a proper match before and, in his words, were picked because he felt “fielding toh kar lenge.” (at least, they would field)

Post match healing

“Losing is only temporary and not all encompassing. You must simply study it, learn from it, and try hard not to lose the same way again. Then you must have the self-control to forget about it’. With this quote, I would congratulate the team that played yesterday and today. They according to their age and level performed best and delivered to the best of their ability” said the coach. The message, the principal of the school said, turned the mood in his school.

Coach Jagtap can’t stop ruing the fact that he couldn’t go in with his full-strength team. Principal V Srinivasan is in the process of organizing a session for the playing XI with a counsellor while the 9th and 10th standard boys who Dhanawade would have faced ideally, cannot wait for payback.

“Sir ek rematch karao, please. Hum phir dikhayenge usse,” one of them told Jagtap. (Give us one re-match, and we’ll show who we really are)

Funnily enough, the kids from 5th, 6th and 8th standards who took the field that day, seemed the least affected by the dramatic outcome. Perhaps the enormity of the feat is not being understood by them yet.

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