In case you wondered where did the 1000-run boy Pranav Dhanawade disappear after that record-shattering knock on a sultry January afternoon in northern Mumbai suburb of Kalyan, well, he is back in the news again, he's taking the social media by storm, just like he did after his knock.
A massive debate and outrage erupted following the non-selection of Dhanawade in the U-16 West Zone squad for the inter-zonal tournament. It all started with this meme which compared Dhanawade and Arjun Tendulkar's achievements and whether Tendulkar deserved a place in the squad over the record-breaking Dhanawade. The picture slowly went viral and Dhanawade was the talking point once again. It went up to the extent where both their father's statuses were compared and there were allegations of nepotism with Arjun being Sachin Tendulkar's son.
Pranav Dhanavade plays a shot enroute to creating a world record by creating 1009 runs. PTI
Well, amidst the furore, Pranav's father Prashant Dhanawade has come out and cleared the air saying his son wasn't eligible for the selection.
"When Pranav made the record, he wasn't under the age of 16," Pranav Dhanawade's father told Firstpost.
"The selection for Mumbai's U-16 team happened before Pranav's record and they had also played many matches. Just one match was played after his record. So since Pranav didn't feature for the Mumbai U-16 team, he cannot be a part of the Zonal side, that's the procedure. The selectors look at players' performance in the Mumbai side over a period of 2-3 years, and since Pranav wasn't part of the Mumbai side question of selection doesn't come in. The person who has spread this news has based it on half-known facts, he doesn't have knowledge of cricket," a palpably angry Prashant adds.
The picture which was circulated did have glaring factual errors and Prashant was quick to spot them.
"The person who has spread these rumors had said that Arjun Tendulkar got selected for the U-16 India team. Actually it wasn't India team, he is selected for the zonal team," Prashant says.
"Pranav has now completed sixteen years of age. Now he is in the U-19 age category. Even Arjun has now moved under the U-19 category, but since the selection was made when he was under the age of sixteen, he will complete his zonal matches before moving to the U-19 category as per the BCCI rule," he adds.
While the whole sage raged on and on, there was anger and embarrassment for Prashant and somewhere down the line, emotional sentiments were hurt too, especially with all the negative comments around Sachin Tendulkar.
"People who have no knowledge of cricket or the selection procedure are behind the rumors," Prashant says.
Arjun Tendulkar. Reuters
"It hurts to see that a great person like Sachin Tendulkar is dragged into this matter. Pranav himself is a big fan of Sachin and Arjun is his good friend. So speaking such things is not right. Some people have also made it a caste-issue which is ridiculous," Prashant adds.
Last year in November, Arjun shone in the MCA U-16 Payyade Trophy with his all-round efforts, scoring 106, 40 and also scalping four wickets playing for Sunil Gavaskar XI vs Rohit Sharma XI. While Prashant stressed on the fact that the young kids should not be pressurized too much, he emphasised that it was Arjun's hardwork that has helped him earn a place in the side.
"I will say that this is not the right thing to do(such comparisons). They are kids and they should be allowed to play (freely)," Prashant says. "Let them prove themselves on the field. It doesn't mean if that you score thousand runs once, you have achieved everything. At the same time, if Arjun fails once or twice, doesn't mean he is a bad player. Both of them are good players.
"Arjun is a very hard-working boy. If anyone has watched him closely, he won’t make such baseless comments. I know him since the last 5-6 years, as Pranav and Arjun used to play together. They are good friends, they speak regularly with each other. Arjun's progress is down to his hardwork and not because of his father's name. His hardwork lies behind his success," Prashant signed off.