Sharmila Thakur ‘scored’ each of Pranav Dhanawade’s 1,009 runs. Photo courtesy: Mohandas Menon.
Sharmila Thakur ‘scored’ each of Pranav Dhanawade’s 1,009 runs. Photo courtesy: Mohandas Menon.

It all started with a little boy called Amar Thakur, whose mother used to accompany him to his matches. Keen to gauge his son’s progress, the mother jotted down every ball of what her son bowled, the runs scored off them, and more. She did it rather diligently. Impressed by her efficiency and passion towards scoring, her husband inspired her to take it to the next level. She took her time, but Sharmila Thakur soon made her way past the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) tests, and scored in Kanga League and school matches. When Pranav Dhanawade smashed 1,009 to become the toast of cricket fraternity, Sharmila was there, ready with the complete scorecard that soon made rounds over social media. ALSO READ — Pranav Dhanawade: Want to play everything, from Ranji Trophy to IPL

Visualise this. Pranav, while smashing 159 fours and 59 sixes, was probably enjoying the full flow of his bat and going back to the crease. Sharmila, on the other hand, was gesturing to the umpires (Sagar Landage and Sunimal Sen) and noting the score down frantically on paper — over a span of 1,465 runs scored in six hours, keeping her calm amidst the frenzied hullabaloo around her. ALSO READ — Pranav Dhanawade: A thousand splendid runs

CricketCountry got the opportunity to interview Sharmila Thakur, the lady who chronicled every ball of the innings, the day after Pranav pulled off his historic feat. Here are some excerpts:

CricketCountry (CC): First of all, heartiest congratulations. You must be proud to become a part of history.

Sharmila Thakur (ST): Oh, yes. I was indeed lucky. I have been scoring since last year, and I have not even been part of a team score in excess of 500. And now, this happened!

CC: Take us through Pranav’s innings.

ST: It was all fours and sixes. There was little other than that. He kept on hitting from day before yesterday (January 4) and continued hitting. It was marvellous to watch.

CC: Where did Pranav do most of his scoring?

ST: Oh, he hit straight, very straight. Most of his runs, fours, sixes, or otherwise, came from straight drives.

CC: Did he give any chances?

ST: There were a few, 3 or 4 catches, and 2 stumpings; but even considering that, the innings was outstanding.

CC: When did you first realise you were being a part of history?

ST: Pranav was already on 652 at stumps on Day One. By that time he had already gone past Arthur Collins’ 628, and had made history. I thought KC Gandhi English School might declare at lunch. At that point Pranav was on 921. But they decided to give him a chance. The moment they came out I sensed he might get to a thousand.

CC: Did the others give Pranav strike, so that he would get to 1,000 faster?

ST: It was not needed. If you see the scorecard, every batsman scored very fast. There was no effort to get Pranav on strike. However, when he faced, it seemed every ball was going for four or six.

Indeed, all five boys in the line-up had a strike rate in excess of 140.

CC: How did you cope up with the frantic scoring?

ST: It was very hectic. While it was fun to watch, it was very difficult to keep up with the entire process of acknowledging the umpire and jot everything down on paper. I have never been as active throughout the day.

CC: Tell us about some moments. Was there any issue regarding space on the score-sheet as he went along? What about when he reached four figures?

ST: No, it was not that difficult, for I use the [Bill] Frindall Sheet. Not only do I have ball-by-ball details of the innings, but also how many he scored every over.

For the uninitiated, the linear scoring system used in cricket was invented by John Pendlington. The system was later improved by Bill Ferguson, and then Bill Frindall. It is an advanced version of the conventional score-sheets used in local matches, one of its advantages being the ability to calculate performances of all batsmen against all bowlers. 

CC: Is there any other performance from the match you would want to highlight?

ST: Aakash Singh (173 in 92 balls) and Siddhesh Patil (137 in 92) both scored hundreds, but were eclipsed by Pranav. Chinmay Patil took 5 for 3. But barring Pranav, Aayush Kamath put up the best performance with 8 for 16, five of which were bowled and one caught-and-bowled.

CC: Thank you, Mrs Thakur. It was a pleasure talking to you.

ST: Thank you.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Chief Editor at CricketCountry and CricLife. He blogs here and can be followed on Twitter here.)