M. Krishna Prasad, an interior decorator in Bengaluru, is living his dream that was curtailed due to a bike accident injury, through his nephew M. Prasidh Krishna, the latest fast bowling sensation.

On Tuesday night, Krishna Prasad, a maternal uncle of Prasidh Krishna, and the entire extended family had gathered at the new India pace bowler’s house in the Padmanabhanagar locality of Bengaluru, exchanged bars of Mysore Pak sweet, and loud cheers that forced neighbours to walk in to first complain. On realising the significance of the occasion, the neighbours soon joined in the fun as Prasidh Krishna picked wicket after wicket to leave England reeling in the first ODI in Pune. He finished with four wickets for 54 runs in India’s 66-run win.

“We had gathered at his home with his parents. We must have been around 15 people. We raised a din. No one wanted to go anywhere in England’s innings,” Prasad says on phone even as he attends people who come to his shop, located about one-and-a-half kilometres from Prasidh Krishna’s home.

“Everyone is coming to my shop to congratulate me. I am getting outstation calls too. People are asking ‘where is the party?’ I ask them what they want. They say, ‘a coffee would do’. I say what is coffee; you can have anything you want. Everything is on me today,” says the proud uncle even as he dabbles with his duties of visiting a house for decoration and attending customers at his shop.

Prasad has a major role to play in his Prasidh Krishna’s career. His sister, pace bowler Krishna’s mother, is a state level volleyball player.

Krishna Prasad, 52, himself was a useful pace bowling all-rounder at city’s Mountjoy Cricket Club before he met an accident while riding bike. The accident meant a rod had to be inserted in his right leg and he could not play anymore.

At the time, Prasidh Krishna was growing and beginning to play at his Carmel school academy.

Former Karnataka player Srinivas Murthy, who was coaching at Carmel school, was the first to tell Prasad about his nephew’s potential.

“He started playing and doing well for school when he was in eighth standard. A few years later, Srinivas Murthy told me that he needs to play club cricket. So, I brought him over to Mountjoy and within six months to a year, he began making an impression. The secretary of the club, BK Ravi, gave him plenty of opportunities,” recalls Krishna Prasad.

Ravi recalls an interesting incident in Prasidh Krishna’s early years.

“When he came to the camp, he was a lanky, tall guy. Normally, when we see a tall guy, we just hand him the ball. What do you want to bowl, I asked him. He said, ‘I want to bowl fast’. We told him that there was no fast bowler in India; they all are medium-fast. But he reiterated, ‘no sir, I am a fast bowler!” recalls Ravi who says that his arrival changed the fortunes of the club in a couple of years. The club had been struggling in the second division.

“He was bowling a bit quick for his age. We were very impressed with his action. Also, he was always very charged up, whenever he would get a not out decision, he would be charged up and ask why it wasn’t given. It showed that he was always in the game,” added Ravi, who himself is a national level umpire.

“His performances helped us move to the first division of the league and he was unplayable on the matting wickets in the season that saw us move up to the top tier of the league. The steep bounce he got troubled batsmen so much that players from other teams would come to me and say jokingly ‘why are you playing him, give him a break’,” says Ravi.

Uncle Krishna Prasad says success begets success, and it raised Prasidh’s morale. “He took a large number wickets in league matches. I can’t recall the numbers but he became dedicated as he kept improving and getting opportunities in state side.”

The right-arm pace bowler’s first big moment of fame came against a visiting Bangladesh side when, representing the Karnataka State Cricket Association XI, he ran through the visiting Bangladesh side that was due to play India A soon after.

All the bigwigs of Karnataka like Javagal Srinath, Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid began noticing him and soon he was on way to Kolkata Knight Riders for 2018 season as replacement for pace bowler Kamlesh Nagarkoti.

Prasidh, though, wasn’t picked for the Duleep Trophy in 2019-20 season.

“MSK Prasad was India’s chief selector, he has been an old friend. When Karnataka was playing the Vijay Hazare Trophy final with Tamil Nadu in Bengaluru, he was there. I walked up to him and demanded the reason why Prasidh wasn’t picked for Duleep Trophy that season. I said, ‘what man, he’s not even good for Duleep Trophy?'” says Ravi.

“Prasad said, ‘what are you talking about? Duleep Trophy? We were considering him for the matches against Bangladesh [the T20 International series in 2019]. But he is injured’. I was surprised. I went back and called up Prasidh. He said he had got a call but had to turn it down due to injury. Even Rohit [Sharma, who captained India in the T20I series] had expressed the desire to have him in the side,” says Ravi.

Post injury, Krishna has worked on his fitness. So much so that during lockdown, he used his neighbour’s garage to set up a station to do fitness, the fast bowler had told IANS on Friday.

It is all paying off now.

–IANS

kh/qma

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