Opening batsman Pranav Dhanawade of Smt KC Gandhi School, Kalyan scored an unbeaten 652 off 199 balls, a knock which comprised 78 fours and 30 sixes against Arya Gurukul School in the HT Bhandari Cup inter-school tournament organised by the Mumbai Cricket Association.
Dhanawade’s team amassed 956 runs in the two-day school league, with No.3 batsman Siddhesh Patil making 100. The 15-year-old’s father Prashant, an autorickshaw driver, said that it will be a dream come true if his son plays for the Mumbai Under-16 team.
“It a unfulfilled dream. I want my son to become a great cricketer. He has proved that he has the talent today. Cricket is not an easy sport and expensive too. I spent extra hours driving an autorickshaw in order to afford the cricket gear for my son,” Prashant said.
The ground in Kalyan was relatively small and the Arya Gurukul School bowling attack didn’t have a name of repute in its ranks. However, the sheer volume of runs Dhanawade scored made it a special knock.
He bettered the best-ever individual score made on a single day when he went past Prithvi Shaw’s 546, made in 2014 in the Harris Shield tournament. Two other cricketers with promise have also scored big runs in Mumbai maidan cricket. Sarfaraz Khan and Arman Jaffer – both part of India’s current Under-19 squad, made 439 in 2009 and 498 in 2010
Dhanawade’s coach Mobin Sheikh recalls how before the inter-school tournament he had told his ward that unless he made a really massive score, which forced everyone to sit up and take notice, it would be difficult to break into the Mumbai team.
“Agar Wankhede mein khelna hai toh bada score marna he padega. It’s very tough for any player from the suburbs to make it to the Mumbai Under-16 side. Fifties, 60s or even a hundred or two will not make a big impact. He needed a very big score and now that he has achieved it, hopefully he will carry on from here,” Sheikh said.