Mumbai teenager scores record 1009*
KC Gandhi English School 1465 for 3 dec (Dhanawade 1009*, Aakash 173, Patil 137) beat Arya Gurukul 31 (Patil 5-3) and 52 (8-16) by an innings and 1382 runs
Pranav Dhanawade, a 15-year-old cricketer from Mumbai, smashed an unbeaten 1009 not out off 327 deliveries to notch up the highest individual score in minor cricket, breaking a 117-year-old record. His team, Smt KC Gandhi School, Kalyan, declared soon after at a mammoth 1465 for 3 and then wrapped up an overwhelmingly one-sided game against Arya Gurukul - bowled out for 31 and 52 - by an innings and 1382 runs.
Dhanawade began the second day of the two-day game - part of the HT Bhandari Cup inter-school tournament - on 652 not out. By then, he had already surpassed the score of 628 not out scored by Arthur Collins in 1899, and had also broken the record for the highest individual score by an Indian cricketer in minor cricket, previously held by Prithvi Shaw, who scored 546 in the Harris Shield in 2013-14.
Dhanawade said that once he had crossed 500, he was confident of breaking Shaw's record and beating Collins' score of 628. The wicketkeeper-batsman admitted it took time for his record-breaking achievement to sink in on Monday, but he began the second day with a clear goal of getting to the 1000-run mark.
"I couldn't believe it last evening that I had scored 652 runs. When I went home, I took a bath and slept. But today I set myself a target of 1000 runs," he told ESPNcricinfo.
Dhanawade - whose previous highest score in recognised cricket was 80-odd - had raced to 921 by lunch and went past the 1000-run mark in the second session. His knock, which spanned almost seven hours, included 129 fours and 59 sixes.
His scoring was probably helped by the size of the ground in the northern suburb of Mumbai. Nestled between two housing complexes, the ground - with a typically muddy Mumbai pitch - is rectangular with extremely short, walled-in square boundaries. Abhishek Karane, a BCCI umpire who was at the match, said it was 110 metres in breadth and 135 metres long but the straight boundaries had been pulled in. Dhanawade targeted the shorter square boundaries, especially on leg side. His school coach, Harish Sharma, however, wasn't willing to concede even a little bit when talking about his student's monumental effort. "I don't think the ground mattered. He hit all over the ground and his technique is built on straight hitting."
Arya Gurukul's Ayush Dubey conceded the most runs - 350 runs in 23 overs. Two other bowlers - Sarth Salunke and Harshal Jadhav - conceded 284 and 281 respectively. Dubey picked up two wickets but rued his side having missed out on a chance, off his bowling, which Dhanawade had offered during his innings. He said Dhanawade had struggled against deliveries outside off but as his innings grew, he was able to steer the bowlers to the smaller square boundaries on either side of the wicket.
"He was struggling to play balls on the off side. When we kept bowling off side to him, he would get into position and hit through leg," Dubey said.
Pranav who was in attacking mode throughout his colossal effort, gave a few stray chances. About that drop off his bowling, Dubey said: "I was so angry that he [the fielder] dropped the catch of such a main player. I was really angry, but I did not tell him anything."
Dhanawade's temperament and fitness were praised by officiating umpire Sunimal Sen. "I would say he was 101% fit [temperamentally], and even after scoring so much he was not tired," Sen said. "Many times we see that batsmen, after scoring a hundred, say 'Sir we want water', but he did not create this type of disturbance. He was very fit."
The innings got plenty of attention on social media and was even mentioned by television commentators in the ongoing Test between South Africa and England. Dhanawade, who idolises former Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, received praise from Sachin Tendulkar and Ajinkya Rahane, while India's limited-overs captain MS Dhoni had some advice for the teenager.
"Often you may find people talking about where [ground, tournament, etc] the individual played and all. But it is a serious business," Dhoni said, when asked about Dhanawade's innings at India's pre-departure press conference in Mumbai. "To score like that anywhere in the world, in those conditions, is very difficult. Not to forget the age of the individual. We need to nurture him, guide him, 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 who are close to him - his coach, his parents - to guide him to move in the right direction.
"Definitely he has got talent. What is important is to see how he keeps improving because from now on, every game, every year that passes by, he will be competing against individuals who keep getting better and better."
Rahane urged Dhanawade to keep working hard on his game: "As a Mumbaikar, I am really proud of it. '1009' yeh bolne ke liye itna samay lagte hain [It's quite a mouthful to say 1009]. Two years, ago I think a school team made these many runs, but today an individual managed it. These many runs are usually scored in a season.
"I hope he continues to concentrate on his game. I am sure he will work hard on his game and come and play with us. I want to wish him good luck."
Srikanth Ravishanker is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo