Pranav Dhanawade, the Mumbai schoolboy who scored a record-breaking 1,009 runs in an inter-school cricket match in January 2016, and went on to become the first batsman to score about 1,000 runs in the world, has returned the scholarship granted to him by the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA).
The scholarship entitled him to receive a monthly sum of Rs. 10,000 for the next five years. But a decline in his performance has led to him missing out on a spot in the Under-19 probable. He was even given the boot by the Air India team and asked to look out for a new club by Dadar Union. A copy of the letter his father Prashant Dhanawade sent the MCA (which is in possession of MiD-day) reads, “We are thankful for the scholarship that the MCA announced when he created a world record with his unbeaten 1009. Since Pranav has not performed to expectations in the last one and a half years, it is not right for us to accept the MCA scholarship. If Pranav performs well later, the MCA can think of awarding him a scholarship. As of now, I request you to discontinue it with immediate effect”.
The decision to discontinue MCA’s scholarship was taken by Pranav’s father Prashant and his coach Mobin Shaikh. Shaikh said that Pranav’s passion for the sport started fading post his 1,009 run. People passed absurd comments like ‘He made a lot of money from his 1,009 run-knock, there is no need for him to play cricket now’. There was also a rumour that he got a house in Bandra. All this coupled with a dip in his performance led to Pranav’s downfall. We want to erase all memories of that (1009-run) knock. The aim is to play a high level of cricket, but not at the cost of integrity. We just want him to enjoy his cricket like he used to before the 1009”, Shaikh told MiD-day.
Prashant’s father said that money was never a mandate, and that better training facilities were the need of the hour. He stressed on the pathetic condition of Subhash Maidan where his son and other aspirants toil. “The first thing the boys do when they arrive in the morning is to clear the glass pieces from the ground. Although there is a proper pavilion with a toilet facility, the players cannot access it as it is locked by the municipality. Cricket kits are out in the open and there is no shade as well”. Their repeated appeals to higher authorities have not yet been paid heed to.