Venkatesh Prasad was new ball partner of Javagal Srinath in the 1990s. He was a regular in India’s playing XI from his debut in 1996 t0 2001. Prasad was tall and proportionally built and his biggest strength was his capability to swing the ball both ways. He was also a deceptive slower bowler and often used it as his biggest weapon when put in crunch situations.
Prasad is among those rare breed Indian pacers who were more successful in overseas conditions than at home. And as the lanky bowler celebrate his 52nd birthday; we take a look at his top bowling spells:
5/76 in 1996 vs England, venue: Lord’s
Playing just the second Test match of his career, Prasad produced one of the best bowling spells against much-fancied England at the iconic Lord’s stadium in 1996. The right-arm pacer exploited the English conditions as he ripped apart their batting order by taking the first five-wicket haul of his career. He chipped in with two more wickets in the third innings of the match as it ended in a draw.
6/33 in 1999 vs Pakistan, venue: Chennai
The focus was on the spin wizards – Anil Kumble and Saqlain Mushtaq – when India lock horned with bitter rival Pakistan in the two-match Test series. However, contrary to popular opinion, Prasad impressed many by his performance on the tuning track of Chennai. Ace Pakistan cricketers like Saeed Anwar and Shahid Afridi looked clueless as Prasad finished the game with the best figure of his career. Despite Prasad’s heroics, India lost the match 12 runs.
5/60 & 5/93 in 1996 vs South Africa, venue: Durban
In 1996 during India’s tour of South Africa, Prasad joined the elusive list of players, who took ten wickets in a Test match in Durban after he finished with the figure of 5/60 and 5/93, respectively in the first and second innings. However, despite Prasad’s valiant efforts, South Africa won the match by 328 runs due to the failure of India’s batting order.
5/27 in 1999 vs Pakistan, venue: Manchester
Prasad’s one of the best ODI performances came during the 1999 World Cup when India needed him to step-up the most. Batting first, India managed to score just 227 runs for the loss of six wickets in their 50 overs against Pakistan in 1999 WC. However, Prasad rattled Pakistan’s star-studded batting line-up by taking his maiden five-wicket hauls in the one-dayers to guide India to 47 runs win.