How life turns around in a span of six months! On September 26 last year, Prasidh Krishna‘s 19th over for Kolkata Knight Riders had been carted around for 27 runs by Ravindra Jadeja as the southpaw allrounder engineered a Houdini act for Chennai Super Kings at the Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
The tall Karnataka pacer was crestfallen as he felt responsible for his side losing a game that they had bossed till then. He barely featured in the tournament after that.
But it is no secret that people in the Indian set up rate him. Former bowling coach Bharat Arun, ex-skipper Virat Kohli, former coach Ravi Shastri and current white-ball skipper Rohit Sharma all have only good things to say about him.
To get the ball to bounce and seam from a length while bowling at over 140 clicks is a gift that few possess, and if you have a high-arm rhythmic action like Krishna, and are also tall like the soon-to-be 26 pacer (his birthday is on February 19), you can do what he did on Wednesday at the Narendra Modi Stadium in the second ODI in Ahmedabad: rock the top order and help India achieve what they very rarely do. Defend a score of less than 240 in an ODI.
The last time it happened before Wednesday was in the World Cup in Southampton against Afghanistan, where a Mohammed Shami hat-trick helped India to a 11-run win while defending 224.
Krishna had bowled well in the last ODI against South Africa in Cape Town last month too, taking 3-59 and had impressed in the first ODI in Ahmedabad, where his 10 overs cost just 29 for two scalps. After the hammering the team suffered in South Africa with floaty pace bowlers, relying more on swing and overhead conditions, the team management seems like it has decided to back bowlers who can hit the hard length and can seam the ball. The need for wickets in the powerplay also won him the team’s vote of confidence.
While sitting in the dressing room watching his prosperous batting colleagues struggle against the West Indian pacers, who hit the hard lengths with regularity, Krishna realised that he could profit too if he did a copy-paste of those tactics.
After seven wicketless overs cost India 32, a worried-looking Rohit threw the ball to Prasidh and gave him a supporting field of two slips. He banged the ball short and induced the errant slash from Brandon King which was nicked to Pant.
Prasidh, like one of India’s and Karnataka’s finest seam bowling exponents, Javagal Srinath, loves to take the ball across the left-hander. That skill earned him the wicket of Darren Bravo after beating him with a similar delivery. His first spell was a surreal 4-2-3-2.
Skipper Rohit’s constant search for wickets, made him position himself at widish first slip when he brought back Prasidh for just a one-over spell to dismiss another left-hander, Windies skipper, Nicholas Pooran. It was a three-fourths length which the batsman could neither drive nor cut and he just sliced it to Rohit.
The game was done and dusted there. Prasidh, apart from making himself undroppable for more important white ball challenges ahead, may have also auditioned successfully for future red-ball contests too.