The autograph-hunter | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 20, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:15 AM, March 20, 2016

Indian rhythms

The autograph-hunter

If you enter the M Chinnaswamy Stadium through the iron curtains the first thing that will strike you is a giant metallic image of a batsman on his follow-through after playing a front-foot drive. Beneath that a slogan is carved, justifying the action of a particular Indian batsman. You will immediately understand once you read the words 'commitment, consistency, class'. It is Bangalore's pride Rahul Dravid, with more than 13,000 Test runs and a small matter of 10,889 ODI runs.

But inside the stadium an 18-year-old, who was skirting through the lax security to get the autographs of every Bangladesh player to enrich his already hugely decorated list, refused to consider Dravid as his idol. Pranav Jain prefers Mahendra Singh Dhoni as his unquestionable idol for being what he termed 'the best down-to-earth gentleman he had ever come across'. Pranav already has got more than 600 signed bats that included, according to him, 'call a name' of any cricketer across the world. He has a dream to float a museum in Bangalore that will be best in the world. The only son of an affluent businessman, Pranav has travelled to many places to obtain the autographs of cricketers. His last visit was in Dubai, where he had a mission to get the autograph of Shakib Al Hasan.

“I could not get his autograph at that time but had it signed from Kolkata,” said a grinning Pranav while enjoying his satisfying day of work with Bangladesh players, who are not frequent visitors to India.

He also made sure to take selfies with each player after taking his autograph. It's mandatory for him. It was quite a scene when he approached great West Indies pace bowler Curtly Ambrose, who first refused him but immediately called him back after putting the bottles he was carrying on the ground. A graduate in commerce, he is totally devoted to what he is doing. He claims that he meets Dhoni whenever he comes to Bangalore and showed a lot of pictures he had with the Indian captain as proof. He was also eager to have Chandika Hathurusingha's autograph for his knowledge as he was a member of the 1996 World Cup winning Sri Lanka team.

Pranav's big disappointment is that he is yet to get hold of Sanath Jayasuriya but remained very adamant to fulfil it. He was quite an entertainer for the Bangladeshi journalists during that three-hour training session. His earnest request to this reporter was a ticket (he also collects tickets) of the Asia Cup final, more importantly because Dhoni was there.

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