Prasidh Krishna ready for the long international haul

BENGALURU: On a cool morning in September 2015, Karnataka, playing a tour game against the visiting Bangladesh A team in Mysuru, were without their top three pace bowlers – R Vinay Kumar, Abhimanyu Mithun and Sreenath Arvind.
Left to make do with resources at hand, skipper CM Gautham tossed the ball – one over old – to Prasidh Krishna. With his very first delivery, the gawky teenager claimed the wicket of Rony Talukdar. Prasidh finished with a match-winning haul of six wickets including a 5 for 49.

Yet, that scintillating debut was not enough to earn the youngster a permanent spot in the team – a testimony to Karnataka’s riches. Over the next year-and-a-half, Prasidh warmed the bench until his List A debut in February 2017. It was the retirement of left-arm pacer Sreenath Arvind in early 2018 that helped Prasidh cement his place in the side.

Prasidh admits the period was difficult, but his ability to grind it out and remain focused helped. His mindset during injury layoffs has been similar.

“The powerful feeling of wanting to play cricket is what has kept me going,” Prasidh told TOI last week when he was named in the Indian squad for the three-match ODI series against England. “Bowling excites me. Each day, I just look forward to holding the ball and running in at full steam.”

That hunger hasn’t dimmed in the past six years. A case in point was his dream debut in Pune on Tuesday, which was nightmarish at times.
Prasidh struggled with his length so much that Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow latched on to it like children in a candy store, making a meal of his deliveries.
His third over especially was a disaster as he leaked 22 runs. Going at an average of 140kph, he bowled too full and quick on a placid wicket and was duly punished.
Prasidh, a product of the MRF Pace Foundation, later admitted, “It didn’t start off well, and they came hard at us because we bowled poorly, but we had belief in ourselves. I understood after my third over, I can’t bowl full, and then I hit good length areas, and let the ball do the rest.”
Lesson learnt, he backed himself with his stock deliveries, especially the back-of-a-length one. He extracted bounce and was duly rewarded with figures of 4 for 54 — the best by an Indian on ODI debut.
Impressive as that may sound, the statistic could sit heavily on the youngster, who has worked with Australian pace merchants like Jeff Thomson and Glenn McGrath. The good thing is that he realises he will have to work hard to ensure a long run in the highly competitive Indian dressing room.
“I will go back to the drawing board and will improve on my technique. I hope I can be the partnership breaker for long,” the 25-year-old Karnataka cricketer admitted.

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