mid-day meets Punjab-based MP Pandove, who recalls the death of 18-year-old batsman and the effect it had on his family
Mohali: A photograph of a youngster adorns the entrance of the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium conference room — the smiling face of Dhruv Pandove, dressed in cricketing whites. There is also an U-19 tournament named after him.
Dhruv Pandove, the former Punjab batsman, who passed away in a 1992 road accident
Dhruv, the son of PCA’s General Secretary and long-serving Indian cricket administrator MP Pandove, was one of Punjab’s most prodigious cricketing talents whose life was cut short in a road accident in January 1992.
Dhruv was rated on par with his contemporary Sachin Tendulkar. He already had many records to his name — first-class debut at 13, first-class century at 14 and youngest to score 1000 runs in a Ranji Trophy season at 17.
Just as Dhruv was making his mark on the cricketing field, tragedy struck. While returning home after participating in a Deodhar Trophy match against South Zone, he got off at Ambala to continue his journey to Patiala. "It was quite foggy and Chetan Sharma (the former India bowler) told him not to leave for home immediately," Pandove recalled during a chat with mid-day.
"But Dhruv wanted to come home because a touring team was to arrive in India in a week’s time and he had only a few days to spend some time with the family. He told Chetan that this would be his best chance to break into the Indian team if he scored heavily against the tourists. He hired a taxi and that’s it," said Pandove with moist eyes. The taxi never reached Dhruv’s home. Pandove was at an MLA hostel when he was alerted about the accident.
He rushed to the hospital only to find that his son was no more. "I wanted to quit all my cricket-related activities. Mann nahi lagta tha," he said.
Pandove was urged by a friend, a senior journalist from Punjab, to carry on his work and not let his loss hurt the game of cricket in the state. Pandove carried on serving cricket in various capacities thereafter, but his younger son Kunal couldn’t pursue his dream of playing cricket after the tragedy.
"Dhruv’s mother burnt Kunal’s cricket kit and he was never encouraged to play the game again," said Pandove with regret.