GAME PLAN: Will you remember Pranav Dhanawade?

Jaideep Ghosh

Mumbai: Pranav Dhanavade plays a shot en-route to creating a world record by creating 1009 runs in an Under 16 MCA cricket match in Kalyan, in Mumbai on Tuesday, Jan 5, 2016. Photo-PTI

Mumbai: Pranav Dhanavade plays a shot en-route to creating a world record by creating 1009 runs in an Under 16 MCA cricket match in Kalyan, in Mumbai on Tuesday, Jan 5, 2016. Photo-PTI

Odds are you still don’t know who Pranav Dhanawade is.

Just as well, since the youngster will soon be hoping no one knew his name.

For the curious, this is the youngster who scored 1009 not out in his school team’s total of 1400-odd runs in a tournament in Mumbai. We understand the other team lost by an innings and 921 runs.

So what that does is that it makes 15-year-old Pranav the highest individual scorer in any form of cricket. He beat the previous highest by close to 300 runs.

What this will do for young Pranav is to keep his name in the headlines for a few days. This is the good part. The sad part is that it will do nothing whatsoever for his cricketing career.

What kind of bowling do you think Pranav faced? Children his age or younger, with barely developed limbs, trying to hurl down a fairly heavy leather ball, on what has to be a dusty and slow track under a merciless sun.

Pranav did what he should – he hit the ball to all parts. But what sort of system allows young children to be left open to such an assault.

Surely, by the time Pranav scored 300 runs, the match was effectively over. The school team captain is unlikely to be the one to take a call on that, but surely his Physical Education master, or the team coach, should have decided enough was enough?

Guess not. That is the Mumbai module of cricket – keep plugging away at the runs. No wonder the most boring batsmen in India originate in Mumbai.

As regards poor Pranav, if he scores a 150 in his next innings, it will be considered a failure. His career is now in serious jeopardy. I doubt if we will hear of him ever again.

This was the first big headline of Indian sports in 2016. Interesting. But that’s about it.

 

Mumbai: Indian Cricket Captain M S Dhoni speaks during a press conference in Mumbai on Tuesday (Jan 5, 2016) before the departure for the Australia tour. Photo-PTI

Mumbai: Indian Cricket Captain M S Dhoni speaks during a press conference in Mumbai on Tuesday (Jan 5, 2016) before the departure for the Australia tour. Photo-PTI

Aussie adventure: Back home, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his boys began their journey to Australia for the T20 and One-day International contest.

The biggest thing to focus on in that series is where Dhoni finds himself after all of this settles down. Will he still be leading the side? Or will Virat Kohli be in harness for the ICC T20 World Cup.

Unlikely though, that Dhoni won’t be around for the World Cup. It would be quite fitting that he leads the side there, since we aren’t likely to create any major waves against Australia in the present series, irrespective of who leads the team.

It would also be fitting that he sees another T20 World Cup. That is where Dhoni became who he is now.

Another thing to see will be if the faith imposed on Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh is vindicated. Or for that matter, those players who shouldn’t be seen beyond the IPL. Would be interesting to see how they pan out.

 

Hashim-Amla-South-Africa-CricketNewlands news: Interesting stuff happened elsewhere too.
We have South Africa and England engaged in what should have been an interesting contest, but the Newlands pitch pretty much ensured that what should have been a sensational contest, fizzled out to be a dead heat. Even though we got to see two double-centuries, which were as similar as chalk and cheese.

South Africa did contrive to make things interesting on the fifth morning, but a track which permitted over 1300 runs over the first four days was hardy going to suddenly turn into a quagmire.

But it was still quite something to see Ben Stokes and Hashim Amla score some solid runs. Stokes was his usual self, hitting everything that was within range.

Amla, on the other hand, was fighting two battles. For one, his side was faced with a 600-plus score and had to ensure they didn’t fold like Durban.

Additionally, Amla needed to rediscover himself after a pretty disastrous tour of India, where his knowledge of the cricket pitch seemed to have abandoned him.

That is what the difference was between the two innings. Stokes was not under any kind of pressure whatsoever, while Amla was carrying the world on his shoulders.

I can go many miles to see Amla batting. He is, without doubt, the paragon of patience and poise, never ever reaching even mean temperature on the ground as he plays the game as it should be.

So all of that brought us to the fifth day, when England suddenly found themselves floundering on a pitch where bowling was sacrilege till then.

As it turned out, the match was consigned to a draw, and interesting one, but a draw nevertheless.