Batting wonder: Pranav has to take this as the start of a race, says Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Until Monday, Pranav Dhanawade was just like any school cricketer dreaming big. But, on Tuesday, along the route to an unbeaten 1009, he has made the world take notice of his earth-shattering feat.


Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni joked that he was glad “I left Test cricket” when told that Pranav was also a wicketkeeper. “I would have got bored batting for so long,” he said with a smile.

On a serious note, Dhoni just sat back and admired the amount of runs the 15-year-old amassed in one-and-a-half days.

“Often you may find people talking about where the individual played. But it is a serious business. To score that kind of runs anywhere in the world, in any condition is very difficult. Let’s also not forget the age of the individual. It is a tremendous effort.”

India’s limited overs captain said that it was important to guide him along the right path. “It is a glimpse of talent. It is just that we need to nurture him, guide him at the same time because all of a sudden, the limelight will be on him. He will be compared with a lot of individuals who have been very successful. It is important for the individuals close to him – his coach and his parents – to guide him in the right direction.

“He has to take this as the start of a race, the kind of beginning you always want. It is very important to look forward and improve yourself as a cricketer. He has definitely got talent. What is important is to see how he keeps improving because from now on he will be competing against individuals who keep getting better and better. It is all about improving, developing fitness in yourself, looking ahead and at the same time taking care of the shorter goals.”

Dhoni also sensed that the lad has a rare mix of hitting the ball and at the same time looking solid with his batting. “He must be a very special kid. He must be practicing a lot to do something like that. He must have hit a lot of sixes, which is a good sign as he must be picking the right deliveries and at the same time calculative in his batting. It is something very rare. We have seen batsmen who can really hit or someone who is very sound. But to have the right mix is something that is very rare. I wish him all the very best and hopefully he will keep doing well.”

Pranav made fellow Mumbaikar Ajinkya Rahane, who had his cricketing roots in Dombivli that falls in the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation, proud.

“It is taking a long time to even say ek hazaar nou,” said Rahane.

“I just want to congratulate him. Scoring 1,009 is a great effort. As a Mumbaikar, I am sure he will do well for his school team, work hard and come and play with us (in the Indian team).”

Batting for long duration is what Rahane is known for. “Batting for one-and-a-half days is a big effort. you must have patience. The concentration levels are important. You cannot concentrate for a long time. You need to switch on and off. You need to focus well to bat for a long time.”

Rahane has only known teams scoring mammoth totals or a player scoring over a thousand runs in a season. “Today, a boy has scored 1009 in an innings. It is commendable, whoever the opponent is. Even on flat wickets it is important to have dedication and concentration levels. It is easy to score on flat wickets but it gets hard as you bat on. You have to maintain focus.”

Rahane said that it was important for Pranav to keep his head on his shoulders. “After scoring runs in schools cricket, the focus may shift away from the game. It is important to maintain focus. The mind is distracted by small small things. He has to work hard in the coming days,” he said.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday lauded the astonishing cricketing feat achieved by local teenager Pranav Dhanawade, as the state government announced bearing his expenses for further coaching and education.

Dhanawade scripted history by becoming the first batsman ever to notch up a four-figure score, smashing an unbeaten knock of 1009 in an inter-school tournament at Kalyan in neighbouring Thane district. The 15-year-old son of an autorickshaw driver, playing for KC Gandhi Higher Secondary School, reached the gigantic score in just 323 deliveries with help from 59 sixes and 129 fours.

“Pranav Dhanawade’s score has made Maharashtra proud. By becoming the world’s highest-ever individual scorer in all forms of cricket, he has made the country very proud as well,” Sports Education minister Vinod Tawde told reporters here. “Thus, as a way of felicitating Pranav, the government has decided to bear the costs of his cricket coaching and help him financially in his further education,” he added.

Tawde said he met the teenager’s father and congratulated him on his son’s extraordinary achievement. “We will consult his father on other ways in which the government can help in his cricket coaching and education.” Lauding Dhanawade’s astounding feat, Fadnavis said the young cricketer has played an amazing innings and he should continue with his good work. “What an amazing inning! Incredible achievement of being 1009 not out in 323 balls. Congratulations Pranav Dhanawade. Proud of you. Keep striking,” he said.