Happy Birthday Venkatesh Prasad
Today marks the 53rd birthday of former Indian cricketer Venkatesh Prasad, who is renowned for creating a new-ball attack along with statesman Javagal Srinath. Despite rarely being the center of attention, Prasad was an essential member of the Indian team and an excellent team player. Prasad, who was propelled from the hinterlands of Karnataka, made his international debut for India in 1996. His unwavering line and length, as well as his flawless ability to swing the ball in both directions, were the lanky pacer’s USPs.
In the minds of Indian cricket fans, his epic duel with Pakistani batsman Aamer Sohail during the 1996 World Cup is still fresh. Prasad was hit for a boundary by the aggressive hitter, who then mocked him by indicating that he would hit him again in the same direction. In the very next delivery, Prasad gave Sohail a suitable send-off by knocking him over. Due to the importance of what was at stake in that match, the historic moment made “Venky” a household name.
In 33 Test matches, Prasad claimed 96 wickets at an average of 35, and in 161 ODIs, 196 wickets at an average of 32.30. Even though his best Test bowling numbers of 6 for 33, achieved against Pakistan in the 1999 Test series in India, were on a placid track in Chennai, these figures included a session of bowling in which he took 5 wickets for 0 runs. Prasad was more efficient on wickets that aided seam bowling. At a Test match in Durban, South Africa, in December 1996, he famously got 10 wickets.
In the shorter version of the game, Prasad’s excellent seam bowling was equally crucial for the nation. He was a composed, unruffled team player. After retiring, he started teaching, first training the Under-19 team before taking over as head coach of his state team, Karnataka. In May 2007, he was chosen to serve as India’s bowling coach for the tour to Bangladesh. Prasad worked effectively with India’s emerging new-ball combination, Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma, and drew plaudits from a number of players of the Indian team.
He participated in accomplishments in that position, including Test series victories in England and New Zealand, that he had never experienced as a player. However, he lost his job as a result of two subpar bowling performances at important ICC competitions in 2009. He also served as the Chennai Super Kings’ IPL bowling coach.