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Kerala spinner Prasanth Padmanabhan hopeful of selection in an IPL team

Padmanabhan is the leading wicket taker in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy since 2008

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Prasanth Padmanabhan was the highest wicket-taker in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy

Cricket has been running in 30-year-old Kerala southpaw Prasanth Padmanabhan's veins for the past two decades and he is currently on Cloud Nine after getting a chance to meet his idol, former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori.

Prasanth, a left-arm spinner and a left-hand batsman, has just completed a hugely successful Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament where he picked 14 wickets in the Twenty20 tournament in nine matches. He is the leading wicket-taker in the tournament since 2008 with 63 wickets in 43 matches and coming behind him is Indian leg-spinner Amit Mishra.

"It was excitement for me, as I met up with Vettori after a break yesterday (Monday), while undergoing the trial for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). The biggest thing about him is that he has no airs and mingles freely with everyone," Prasanth told IANS over telephone as he has been asked to appear in Pune, Tuesday to take part in the trials of the new IPL Pune franchise.

Prasanth is just only the fourth Keralite to have been selected by an IPL team in the past.

He was first selected to Kochi Tuskers and then was in the team for two seasons with Sunrisers Hyderabad and now he is expecting that this time too he will make the grade.

"I feel confident that I will get a chance this time too because I have performed. Yesterday (Monday) also we played two trial matches under the watchful eyes of the RCB coaching staff. Moreover, this time, three matches of the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy was telecast live and I did bat and bowl well," added Prasanth, who did his graduation and post-graduation privately as he was busy playing cricket.

He began his cricketing journey when he was just 10 and started under the watchful eyes of former Kerala cricketers T.P. Ranganathan, S. Ramesh and S. Rajesh and his first outing was with the Kerala Under-14 team and since then he has climbed the ladder, match by match and played for the South Zone U-17 and U-19 teams, Kerala senior side besides representing South Zone at the Deodar and Duleep Trophy.

It was Southern Railway who spotted his talent and when he reached 18 and was given a permanent job.

Today when he is not playing cricket, he is the chief commercial clerk at the Southern Railway divisional office, here.

Like father like son goes the old saying and already his four-year-old son Akshay Prasanth, often seeing his father with a cricket bat, has his own bat and he too is a southpaw, besides his wife Reshmi, who is also an avid cricket enthusiast, all make the Padmanabhan's, a front end cricketing family.

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