With playing spaces in cities shrinking, where will Pranav Dhanawade practice? | opinion | Hindustan Times
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With playing spaces in cities shrinking, where will Pranav Dhanawade practice?

Police high-handedness with Mumbai batting prodigy Pranav Dhanawade, who holds the record for hitting 1009 runs, is not quite cricket

opinion Updated: Dec 19, 2016 13:21 IST
Aasheesh Sharma
A file photo of Pranav Dhanawade after he created history scoring 1009 not out earlier this year.
A file photo of Pranav Dhanawade after he created history scoring 1009 not out earlier this year. (PTI )

What kind of policeman drags a batting prodigy by the collar and detains him for cricket practice? The overbearing sycophant kind one would presume. Sixteen-year-old Pranav Dhanawade, who holds the record for being the only cricketer on the planet to score in four digits, was accorded this treatment last week by two constables in Mumbai’s Kalyan neighbourhood.

Earlier this year, Dhanawade created headlines when he scored a gobsmacking 1009 not out opening the batting for his team KC Gandhi School against Arya Gurukul School in an inter-school tournament organised by the Mumbai Cricket Association. At that time, the batting wonder boy elicited fulsome praise from Mumbai’s cricket media.

Read: Pranav Dhanawade: 1009 not out

Last Saturday, Dhanawade was again in the limelight when cops hauled him out of the Subhash Maidan for taking a few minutes more than the police had directed to vacate a cricket ground where they were practising, to create a makeshift helipad for Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar.

The children were practising at the ground, when the policemen asked them to leave. “Pranav and the others stopped training immediately and packed their bags. They were just stretching about 10-15 feet away from the helipad when the cops came again and asked them why they were still loitering around. Pranav told them that they would leave in five minutes after finishing their stretching exercises,” Pranav’s father Prashant, who drives an autorickshaw to make a living, told Hindustan Times.

When the argument heated up, both father and son were dragged to the police station in a jeep. The senior Inspector at the station allegedly abused them.

Read: Cricket’s wonder boy Pranav Dhanawade put in lockup for practising his art

That Mr Javadekar, in-charge of the education ministry, cancelled his trip and did not land at the helipad doesn’t take away from the irony of the incident. That our nation lags behind hundreds of others when it comes to Olympic performance is known. Every four years, we lament the lack of a sporting culture in second most populous nation and why we don’t produce more medallists. With playing spaces shrinking in Indian cities, particularly Mumbai, where else does the son of an autorickhaw driver hope to perfect his cover drives than in a neighbourhood maidan? High-handed cops can’t be allowed to get away mistreating a world record holding sportsman to vacate a playground for a politician.