Erapalli Prasanna Biography
E. A. S. Prasanna is a former Indian cricketer who is considered one of the greatest off-spinners of his generation. He was born on 22 May 1940 at Bangalore.
He was a part of the infamous Indian spin quartet of the 1960s. He bowled right-arm off break and was a right-handed batsman.
He was not the greatest turner of the ball, but he mastered the art of controlling the flight of the ball to perfection.
He baited the batsman with a delivery that seemed to look like a full toss or an over pitched delivery making it tempting for a half-volley, but the flight of the ball turned out to be cunningly deceptive as the ball dropped a short of good length wherein the hapless batsman could only spoon it up to a fielder or get his bails knocked off.
His deliveries floated in the air, getting most of the movement before hitting the ground with many often claiming that the whirring of Prasanna’s ball could be heard as it approached closer. A master of off-spin, he was perhaps peerless in his era, in terms of flight, loop, aggression and, above all, guile.
He was awarded the prestigious Padma Shri award in 1970 and is also a recipient of the Castrol Lifetime Achievement award. He was bestowed with an award by the Board of Control for Cricket in India in 2012 for having represented India in more than 50 Test matches.
Prasanna made his debut for the Mysore team in 1961-62. His debut match was against Secunderabad in which he picked up 5 for 80.
As if that was not an impressive performance on its own, he provided an even better performance in the next match against Madras, picking up 7 for 90.
The stunning display saw him selected in the South Zone squad of the Duleep Trophy for the match against West Zone.
He was particularly impressive against the touring MCC side, where he was brought on as a fifth bowler.
MCC were in a comfortable position batting at 148 for 4 but were bowled out for 193. From his 12.3 overs, Prasanna picked all of the 6 six remaining wickets conceding only 56 runs.
He made his debut on 10th January 2010 in the 5th Test against England at Madras.
He was picked for the 4th Test but did not play in the match, though he was fielded as a substitute fielder.
He gave a decent account of himself bowling very economically and getting a wicket.
He was subsequently picked up for the following West Indies tour. But his father despised his son putting cricket in front of studies.
After much convincing, his father only let him go under the condition that his son complete his engineering degree after returning from the tour. Prasanna played only 4 matches in the tour, picking up 20 wickets.
He returned 3 for 122 in the only Test match he played in the tour. He then took a 5-year hiatus to complete his degree.
Rise to Glory
Five years in oblivion, Prasanna returned to cricket. With impressive performances in the domestic competitions like Ranji, Duleep and Irani Trophy, he was back with the national squad.
On his return to international cricket, Prasanna bowled out a star-studded West Indies side that included Rohan Kanhai, Basil Butcher etc. for 224.
This was followed by a dip in the form until the Edgbaston Test when the Indian spin quartet played together for a singular match.
Prasanna took 3 for 51 and 4 for 60 in the match, despite England winning the match. He finished the tour with 45 wickets at 23.91.
Good things started after that, as he put in an outstanding show in the four-back-to-back series against Australia and New Zealand as he picked up a stunning 95 wickets from 16 Tests and an incredible economy of 23.60.
This feat is still something untouchable as Prasanna rose to his zenith.
Prasanna notably took 25 wickets in a series that India lost 4-0. He earned the respect of the great Ian Chappell. He rated Prasanna as the greatest slow bowler of his generation.
Prasanna had a splendid career in domestic cricket as well as he picked up 957 first-class wickets from 235 matches.
He notably featured in the match Karnataka knocked out 15-year champions Bombay in the Ranji Trophy, with Prasanna taking the wicket of Gavaskar with a delivery that Gavaskar considered one of the greatest balls he ever faced.
He held the record for being the fastest Indian to reach the 100-wicket milestone in 20 Test matches. His record was broken by Ravichandran Ashwin.
He played his last test for India in 1978. Dropped from the national squad, he soon declared retirement from first-class cricket.
He was appointed the team manager of the Indian team in the Benson & Hedges World Championship of Cricket in Australia. He was later made a bowling coach of the National Cricket Academy. Until very recent days, he has been acting as a bowling coach at the MAC Spin Foundation at Chennai.