Parents watch Jadhav and Motwani shred UP
As Kedar Jadhav walked towards the dressing room at lunch, after laying out his pads and gloves to dry in the sun, he pointed towards an old man in the stands and told him to have lunch before play resumed. The old man just nodded and replied to his son, who was batting on 192, "Don't worry. You keep it up."
Two hours of play later, as Rohit Motwani climbed the stairs towards the dressing room, a middle-aged man walked up to the staircase and told his son, who was 20 runs shy of his second first-class hundred, "Keep going and try to score a century."
As much as the second day's play in Pune was about triple-centurion Jadhav and his 314-run partnership for the fifth wicket with captain Motwani, it was about two families who revelled in their son's achievements. Achievements that helped Maharashtra pile up a gargantuan total of 738 for 5 in their Ranji Trophy season opener against Uttar Pradesh.
No wonder then that as Kedar closed in on the 28th triple-century in the Ranji Trophy history, his father offered running commentary to his mother over the phone.
While applauding one of Kedar's umpteen boundaries, Mahadev Jadhav, a retired clerk of the Maharashtra State Electricity Board, told ESPNcricinfo: "He has worked hard to reach where he is right now. I just hope he continues to enjoy batting and excels in whatever he does on the field."
Cricket was the natural choice for Kedar, for more reasons than just a passion for the game. "All his three elder sisters excelled in studies, he somehow was never good at studies," Jadhav Sr recalled. "When he was in the eighth or ninth standard, I took him aside and told him, 'If you feel you cannot make it big in studies, we can switch the preference between academics and cricket. But only if you strive to excel in the sport.' He agreed and from then on, academics were secondary for us."
Even while letting Kedar's mother know every few minutes what her son was up to, Jadhav Sr said she didn't like coming to the ground to watch him bat. "Not because she gets hyper and all. It's only because she cannot bear it if he gets hurt. Once, during the IPL, he slid to stop a four and scratched himself on the rope. Seeing blood oozing from his arm, she stopped coming to the ground."
Seemingly, that is not the case with the Motwanis, as both Rohit's parents - father Hiroo and mother Priya - were glued to their seats all through the match. "Ten years ago, she knew nothing about cricket," Hiroo said. "She didn't even know how many balls are there in an over. Now she understands the game better than me."
While Kedar, the youngest son after three daughters, hails from a typical middle-class family, Rohit is the only child of a well-to-do couple, his father being the owner of a construction firm. Motwani Sr, who couldn't pursue cricket as a child, always saw his son achieving what he couldn't.
"But I never pushed him. If he didn't score runs or dropped catches, I didn't shout at him. I just let him fall in love with the game," Hiroo said. "Having started from zero and having gone on to establish myself in the construction business, I never let Rohit get into a comfort zone. As a result, he used to use public transport and travel 20kms one way to train ever since he was 12 or 13. We had a car, but I had to let him understand the struggles involved in being a cricketer."
They may have come from different backgrounds, but when their sons raised their bats after passing various milestones on day two, Jadhav Sr and the Motwanis had exactly the same expression on their faces - one of absolute contentment.
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo