What have we in Venky? Take your pick

Written by: Irfan Sait
Published: Wednesday, June 4, 2003, 14:53 [IST]
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Bangalore: I remember the first time I met Venkatesh Prasad - unassuming, quiet but a determined young lad - he was playing for his club Doorvani C C. That day he got no wickets. But everyone from Swastic Union Cricket Club acknowledged that this boy has the stuff in him. It is not everyday that one gets noticed even without getting any wickets.

He was humble to the core. Are fast bowlers expected to be humble? It strikes me immediately that this is a true professional who has a dual personality - one for the game and one for the rest of the world.

Who can forget the day when Venkatesh Prasad took a blazing Aamir Sohail head on in the quarter-final of the 1996 World Cup at Bangalore? That one moment perhaps changed the course of the match. After all the aggression on the field he asked me politely if I had enjoyed the game.

Fast bowlers believe that injury caused to a batsman gives immediate recognition to their sharpness and fast bowling ability. I don’t know if Venkatesh Prasad subscribes to this school of thought. But I know for sure he was taken very seriously after he hit HAL opener Nandan on the face and brought him down with a sharp rising delivery on a good batting track.

Venky, as he is fondly called, is a family man. Prithvi is his world .He adores his son Prithvi and is obsessed with wife Jayanti. While he was a regular member of the Indian team he longed for time to spend with his family. He takes good care of his parents, never a party animal. He preferred to spend time with his family. Good cars and dogs are a passion with him. He dresses very well; or maybe anything looks good on him because of his handsome and athletic frame.

Another great quality in him is his faithfulness. He began his cricket at Doorvani Cricket Club and till this day remains a member of Doorvani. He has always had a long lasting relationship with people.

Venky believes in real hard work. He says, not only does hard work help you in your game but also makes you strong in your bad days to fight adversities and stage a comeback. Anyone who has worked very hard will never give up easily. This is his advise to all youngsters.

Venky now is deeply involved in coaching young bowlers at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore. His dedication coupled with his vast experience of modern day cricket is a gift from God to the wards who are training with him.

Former India captain and presently the chief of BCCI Talent and Resources Department Dilip Vengsarkar feels Venky is doing a brilliant job as a coach. I only hope he will not be branded a coach because like millions in this country I would like to see him making a come back. In my opinion Venky would have been a great asset in New Zealand. He would have perhaps secured his place for the World Cup too.

Though his stint as a commentator started with a few sniggers, he showed improvement by each passing day. Perhaps it was because he was not mentally prepared for the job. But he displayed quick learning capabilities and silenced his critics. His plus point as a commentator was his on-field experience and knowledge.

Now what have we in B K Venkatesh Prasad? A bowler, a commentator or a coach? Venky is good. You take your pick.

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