Erapalli Prasanna, the Indian off-spinner who broke the spine of the opposition’s batting line-up with his turning deliveries, is celebrating his 81st birthday today. The Tamil Nadu-born spinner had the ability to spin the ball both ways. And a bucket of variations in his arsenal made him a lethal bowler. The legendary spinner made his Test debut back in time in January 1962 against England. Though Prasanna couldn’t do wonders and went on to take a five-year break to complete his under graduation studies.
In 1967, he bounced back as a different bowler altogether. Prasanna’s ability to flight the ball and trick the batsman in the air made him a vital cog of the team. In no time, he became former captain Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi’s favorite weapon. It was difficult to play him even on good pitches.
The Indian off-spinner had an attacking mindset but at the same time, he was very calm and patient. Owing to his abilities, which became the nemesis for the opposition, the legendary spinner took 189 wickets from the 49 Test matches he played. This includes 10 5-wicket hauls and 2 10-wicket hauls. Apart from these, Prasanna took 4 wickets in a single match 17 times.
He has twice led Karnataka to the Ranji Trophy and was feared in domestic cricket. Prasanna played his last Test match in October 1978, against Pakistan in Lahore. He went on to join ICL as a match referee in 2007 but later called off the offer.
Today, as the legend turns a year older, we will look at some lesser-known facts about him:
1. Erapalli Prasanna was born on May 22, 1940, in Bangalore.
2. He was part of India’s famous spin quartet consisting Bishan Singh Bedi, Srinivas Venkataraghavan, and BS Chandrasekhar.
3. Prasanna is the second fastest Indian bowler to scalp 100 wickets, he achieved this feat in his 20th game.
4. He took 24 wickets in four Tests against New Zealand, during India’s tour in 1968. He played a key role in guiding Team India to their first-ever overseas Test series victory.
5. In his 49 matches career, Prasanna’s average was 30.38 while his economy rate was 2.40.
6. Once while introducing him to Shane Warne, Australian legend Ian Chappell called Prasanna “one of the greatest spinner ever.”
7. He has honored with the prestigious Padma Shri Award in 1970.
8. After Prasanna, the Indian cricket fraternity got Harbhajan Singh and Ravichandran Ashwin to carry forward the legend’s legacy.