Bowler B.K. Venkatesh Prasad on the need to groom young fast bowlers in the country
“Anaivarukkum Vanakkam,” he started in chaste Tamil, taking everyone by surprise. Former Indian cricketer B.K. Venkatesh Prasad addressed a gathering at the inauguration of a free health camp at Apollo Hospitals in Madurai. The event was organised by Apollo Munich Health Insurance in association with Canara Bank. Prasad is the brand ambassador for Canara Bank.
A former bowling coach for the Indian team, Prasad spoke his mind about the cricket scenario in the country. “There is no point talking about lack of quality pace bowling talent. There is no dearth of talent. There is only a lack of proper grooming,” he said.
Prasad strongly advised the young fast bowlers (nearly 20 of them are knocking on the doors of international cricket) to keep fit. “Playing international cricket for two years and fading out has become the order of the day for fast bowlers. I don’t see these international bowlers visiting National Cricket Academy regularly and sticking to a fitness regime that will prolong their career,” he says.
The Indian cricket think tank must create a good bench strength by grouping young fast bowlers and set up a comprehensive training programme that will keep them fit, he says. “If you have back-up bowlers you need not worry about players carrying injuries on tour.”
Commenting on the Indian team’s performance in New Zealand, Venkatesh Prasad says that the onus now lies on the team management which has to make a judicious choice while selecting. “More than individual brilliance, the confidence of a player matters a lot for the team. The team management has to support the player to improve his confidence level. After Shikar Dhawan was dropped for a match and suddenly he is finding it hard to put bat to the ball,” he observes.
“It is sad to see our bowlers failing to make an impact on foreign soil. Our bowlers have to understand the predicament of the captain. If they stray the ball on both sides of the wicket it becomes extremely difficult for the skipper to set the field,” he says.
The batsmen also have to live up to the reputation of being a batting power house. While he accepts that it is often difficult to chase the big targets set by rivals, he says, “the margin of defeat irks me”.
But Prasad is happy about Karnataka lifting this year’s Ranji Trophy. “We entered the final twice in the last four years. We have developed a good cricket infrastructure at all levels. We have also made all cricketing facilities available for the juniors and the results are encouraging,” he says. Of his immediate plans he says, it is to start an academy to groom young cricketers in the country.