For all the glitz and glamour associated with Indian cricket, there are players who have been forced to live in abject poverty and struggle to make ends meet. Former Indian domestic cricketer and ex-Ranji star Prakash Bhagat has been forced to run a food stall in order to take care of his family. He had once bowled to Sourav Ganguly during his memorable stint at the famous National Cricket Academy (NCA), but is now fighting for survival by running a roadside stall in southern Assam’s Silchar.
Bhagat was once seen as an exciting prospect in the domestic arena, and his stocks kept rising in his stateside owing to his performances in a number of national and state-level tournaments. He also featured in the Ranji cricket where he played for Assam during the 2009/10 and 2010/11 seasons.
As per a report by news agency IANS, Bhagat is now selling ‘dal puri’ at a roadside stall in southern Assam’s Silchar so that he can support his poverty-stricken family. It was not this case before – he was a promising young talent and hence had been called up for a month-long training in the Bengaluru-based NCA. It was here in 2003, when he bowled to the then captain of the Indian team Sourav Ganguly and also interacted with Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and opener Virender Sehwag.
“I had to leave cricket in 2011 after my father (Gajadhar Bhagat) died following a massive cardiac attack at the age of 65. My father and elder brother, Deepak Bhagat, used to sell ‘chaat’ in a hand-driven cart. After my father’s death, my elder brother also remains ill," Bhagat was quoted as saying by IANS.
He started his career in 1999 when he took part in the Silchar District Sports Association’s Under-13 tournament. He then progressed to the Under-16, Under-19, and Under-23 categories for the state and even at the national levels.