Famous or infamous?
Cricket is a religion in India. It is known as the only force, which successfully unites the nation, irrespective of caste, creed, or religion. Cricket has also been a key source of ambition for many who aspire to make it to the biggest stage of the game. A symbol of that potential stardom is none other than Pranav Dhanawade. A resident of Mumbai, Dhanawade made headlines last week after he scored 1009 in an under-16 inter-school match. Suffice to say, massive centuries are common in the modern game. But it is impossible to come up adjectives to describe Dhanawade’s unbeaten 1009. Irrespective of the opponent and the platform, scoring 1009 runs is a mark of real will, endurance, concentration and hard work. However, the media’s obsessive coverage of the feat also confirms that as a nation, we are increasingly more concerned with individual feats and records. Individual feats of great magnitude are celebrated without much care and concern for the bigger picture. On one hand, legends of the game, MS Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar congratulated Dhanwade for his achievement. On the other hand, former India captain Rahul Dravid recently addressed the obsession of reaching and beating records as a priority over the game itself. On the day before Dhanwade achieved the massive feat, his coach had reportedly advised the 15-year-old, “If you want to play at the Wankhede Stadium, you will need to score big. The fifties, sixties, or even a hundred or two will not make a big impact”. It is imperative to understand that the coach wanted his ward to be noted with this world record. It isn’t really fair to blame the coach for unsportsmanlike behaviour. In fact, what he did what was best for his ward because he probably assumed that once Dhanawade broke a world record, he would immediately become a known face. Suffice to say, it worked. However, the media’s obsessive coverage of this boy’s achievement has proven to be unfortunate. Once again, the individual today has become more important than the game itself. Coaches must teach young boys not to merely chase after individual records, but work for the collective at large. The recent success of the German football in the international arena is a serious example in this regard. Though Dhanwade’s innings will always be remembered as a special one, it will also remain a match that would be best remembered as the one where the game itself took the back seat.