Rarely does talent blossom so precociously as to overturn every batting record in the history of cricket. The boy’s background makes this an even better story. An autorickshaw driver’s son capable of going where no batsman has ever journeyed before, past the nervous 990s and the magical four-figure mark and into the record books, wakes us up to the wondrous possibility of sheer talent surfacing on its own, more likely despite the system rather than because of it. Pranav Dhanawade must be prodigiously talented because the feat he achieved, even in age-group sport, is suggestive of gifts that can be shaped into a batsman in the mould of a Sachin Tendulkar or a Rahul Dravid.
At a time when football and cricket are subjects of inquiries into corruption, the surfacing of fresh talent as yet unsullied by commerce comes as a shot in the arm for the purity of games. But in an age of intense media coverage, it is more a question of how well talent is shaped. Indian cricket has always had an impressive number of young batsmen coming through the ranks and Pranav may become part of a long line of batsmen from the west who went on to make Indian cricket proud. From here it might be a story of how Pranav either makes it in terms of achievements and rewards or loses his way trying to cope with adulation and fame. It is a challenge for Indian cricket to sustain a support system that embraces the young and enables them to come through and shine.