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    March 23, 2005

    Venkatesh Prasad retires from cricket

    Venkatesh Prasad, whose partnership with Srinath after 1996 was only the second decent new-ball partnership in India's history, yesterday announced his retirement from all forms of cricket, including book cricket. You might point to Kapil's partnerships with Ghavri, Prabhakar and Srinath but I dont think they were as effective as Srinath and Prasad bowling in tandem. The only problem with the Karnataka bowling partnership was that it lost its way through much of 1997 when Srinath was injured.

    While he made his one-day debut around 1994, he had to wait for Kapil's retirement and some overseas tours before he made his test debut in England. He made an immediate impression and in the company of Srinath, caused a lot of problems. He got five wickets at Lord's and his name is now on the honours board there. He took ten wickets at Durban but his effort was put in the shade by India's abysmal batting, which grossed 166 runs in two innings. His effort got him the Googler's Gazette player of the month award for December 1996.

    He played for India in two World Cups, in 1996 and 1999. His confrontation with Aamer Sohail during the tense 1996 quarter-final against Pakistan at Bangalore remains etched in the memory of those who watched the game. It is fair to say that his dismissal of Sohail triggered India's comeback after the bowlers were taken to the cleaners while defending a good total.

    In 1999, Pakistan toured India for the first time in 12 years. The first test was firmly in Pakistan's grasp when they were 275/4 and looking to set India a target of around 350 to win. Prasad's spell of five wickets for no run in eighteen balls triggered a collapse which was later matched by India's tail.

    As if indicating that he revelled playing against Pakistan, he took five wickets in a man of the match performance in the must-win Super Six game at Edgbaston in 1999. That said, Ijaz, Anwar and Inzamam had him running for cover on quite a few occasions. Jayasuriya and Aravinda de Silva enjoyed a lot of success against him too.

    Earlier this year, he was named coach of India's under-19 team and that must have obviously told him that his time was up.

    Prasad joins an illustrious list of cricketers who retired recently and who will be setting up the world's first ever book cricket league since they are also of the opinion that one-day cricket needs an overhaul.

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 10:16 AM |
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