Venkatesh Prasad

Venkatesh Prasad

Player Bio

Bapu Krishnarao Venkatesh Prasad, commonly known as Venkatesh Prasad, is a name that resonates with Indian cricket enthusiasts. Born on August 5, 1969, in Bangalore, Karnataka, Prasad emerged as a pivotal figure in the Indian cricket team during the late 1990s. As a right-arm medium-fast bowler, he was known for his ability to swing the ball both ways, a skill that made him a formidable opponent on the pitch. His tall and proportionate build added to his bowling prowess, allowing him to extract bounce from the pitch, often catching batsmen off-guard.

Early Life and Entry into Cricket

Hailing from Bangalore, a city known for its rich cricketing history, Prasad's journey into the world of cricket began at a young age. His passion for the game was evident, and it wasn't long before he made a mark in the domestic circuit, playing for Karnataka.

In the domestic arena, Prasad's performances for Karnataka were noteworthy. His ability to move the ball and his deceptive slower deliveries made him a crucial asset for the team. It was during these formative years that he forged a potent new-ball partnership with fellow statemate, Javagal Srinath. The duo would later go on to become one of India's most successful new-ball pairs in international cricket.

Prasad's consistent performances in the domestic circuit did not go unnoticed. His big break came in 1994 when he was selected to represent India in One Day Internationals (ODIs). He made his ODI debut against New Zealand in Christchurch on April 2, 1994. This was just the beginning of what would become a memorable journey in international cricket.

His Test debut followed two years later, in 1996, against England in Birmingham. From that point on, Prasad became a regular feature in the Indian cricket team, especially in Test matches. His ability to extract movement from the pitch, both in the air and off the seam, made him a significant threat, especially in overseas conditions.

One of Prasad's most memorable performances came in Chennai against Pakistan in January 1999. In a spell that can only be described as devastating, he recorded figures of 6 for 33, including a remarkable spell of 5 wickets for no runs. This performance showcased his prowess and solidified his position as one of India's premier fast bowlers.

International Debut and Rise

Venkatesh Prasad's entry into the international cricketing arena was marked by his One Day International (ODI) debut against New Zealand on 2nd April 1994. This was soon followed by his Test debut against England on 7th June 1996. Representing India from 1994 to 2001, Prasad quickly established himself as a reliable bowler, forming a formidable new-ball partnership with Javagal Srinath. The duo's combined efforts often provided India with early breakthroughs, setting the tone for many matches.

Prasad's bowling style, primarily right-arm medium-fast, was characterized by his ability to swing the ball both ways. This made him particularly effective in conditions that favoured seam bowling. However, his versatility was evident when he delivered one of his most memorable performances on a docile pitch in Chennai against Pakistan in 1999. In this match, he recorded his best Test bowling figures of 6 for 33, which astonishingly included a spell where he took 5 wickets without conceding a single run.

Another highlight of Prasad's international career was his ten-wicket haul in a Test match in Durban, South Africa, in December 1996. This remains his only ten-wicket haul in Test cricket, showcasing his ability to adapt and perform in diverse conditions. Prasad's prowess was not limited to Tests; he was equally effective in ODIs. In the 1996/97 season alone, he bagged 55 wickets in 15 Tests and 48 wickets in 30 ODIs. His outstanding performances during this period earned him the CEAT International Cricketer of the Year award.

Key Performances and Milestones

Throughout his international career, Prasad achieved several milestones that cemented his place in the annals of Indian cricket:

Chennai Magic Against Pakistan (1999): As mentioned earlier, Prasad's spell of 6 for 33 against Pakistan in Chennai stands out. This performance, especially the spell of 5 for 0, is etched in the memories of cricket enthusiasts.

Ten-Wicket Haul in Durban: In December 1996, Prasad's ten-wicket haul against South Africa in Durban showcased his ability to extract movement and bounce from the pitch, making life difficult for the batsmen.

1996 Cricket World Cup: One of the most iconic moments of Prasad's career came during the 1996 Cricket World Cup. After being hit for a boundary by Pakistan's Aamir Sohail, who then pointedly sledged him, Prasad responded in the best way possible. On the very next delivery, he clean bowled Sohail, turning the tide of the match in India's favour.

Arjuna Award: In recognition of his contributions to Indian cricket, Prasad was honoured with the prestigious Arjuna Award in 2000.

CEAT International Cricketer of the Year (1996/97): This accolade was a testament to Prasad's consistency and effectiveness as a bowler during this period.

Venkatesh Prasad's international career was marked by consistent performances, key milestones, and memorable moments that endeared him to cricket fans. His ability to swing the ball, along with his calm demeanour and strategic approach, made him one of the stalwarts of Indian cricket during his playing days.

Coaching Career and Post-Retirement Activities

After hanging up his boots from international cricket, Venkatesh Prasad didn't stray far from the game he loved. He transitioned seamlessly into the world of coaching, bringing with him the experience and insights from his playing days.

Prasad's first significant coaching assignment was with the Indian Under-19 cricket team. Under his guidance, the young talents were moulded and prepared for the rigours of international cricket. His efforts bore fruit as many of these youngsters went on to represent the senior national team.

His success with the U-19 side caught the attention of the senior team management, and he was appointed as India's bowling coach for the tour of Bangladesh in May 2007. In this role, Prasad worked closely with India's new-ball pair, Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma. The duo, under his tutelage, showed significant improvement and became a force to reckon with in international cricket. Prasad's coaching stint with the senior team saw India achieve Test series victories in England and New Zealand, feats that had eluded the team during his playing days.

Apart from his role with the national team, Prasad also served as the bowling coach for the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise, Chennai Super Kings. His expertise was sought after in the league, and he was key in shaping the bowling unit of the team.

Venkatesh Prasad's legacy in Indian cricket is multifaceted. As a player, he was a dependable seam bowler who could swing the ball both ways and was known for his calm and unruffled demeanour on the field. His iconic moments, such as the dismissal of Aamir Sohail in the 1996 World Cup, are etched in the memories of cricket fans.

Post-retirement, Prasad continued to serve Indian cricket in various capacities. His coaching stints, both with the U-19 team and the senior national side, showcased his ability to nurture talent and bring out the best in players. His contributions to the game, both on and off the field, make him one of the stalwarts of Indian cricket.

When did Venkatesh Prasad make his international debut?
Venkatesh Prasad made his ODI debut against New Zealand on 2nd April 1994 and his Test debut against England on 7th June 1996.
What is Venkatesh Prasad's best bowling performance in Tests?
Prasad's best bowling performance in Tests is 6 for 33 against Pakistan in Chennai in 1999.
Which IPL team did Venkatesh Prasad coach?
Venkatesh Prasad served as the bowling coach for the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL.
When did Venkatesh Prasad retire from international cricket?
Venkatesh Prasad played international cricket from 1994 to 2001.
What was Venkatesh Prasad's role with the Indian cricket team post-retirement?
Post-retirement, Venkatesh Prasad took up coaching roles, including serving as the bowling coach for the senior Indian cricket team.