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Face to Face

  EAS Prasanna
  TA Sekhar
  Madan Lal
  Shivlal Yadav
  Roger Binny
  DK Gaekwad
  Vijay Hazare
  Kiran More
  Eknath Solkar
  Madhav Apte
  Karsan Ghavri
  Ajit Wadekar
  Balwinder Sandhu
  Baloo Gupte
  Polly Umrigar
  Chandra Nayudu
  CD Gopinath
  Mushtaq Ali
  Mansur Pataudi
  Maninder Singh
  Chandu Sarwate
  Chetan Chauhan

EAS Prasanna (Part II)

Meet EAS Prasanna Face to Face as part of CricInfo's video/audio interview series.

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EAS Prasanna
"I'm really proud that I was among the other three: Bishen, Chandra and Venkat. No other combination has taken so many wickets."

[ Complete profile of EAS Prasanna ]

On his experience during the England tour of 1971

We won the West Indies series and went to England. I had about 120 odd wickets (124) in 25 Tests and bowled pretty well in the first four county games too. I was shocked when I was dropped for the Test XI because I was the highest wicket taker of the team. In fact Jim Laker said on TV that if India could afford to drop Prasanna, the Indian side must be very strong. I do not know till today the reason. I couldn't ever recover from that shock because at that point of time I was talking with the ball. Never mind who was playing against me, I could nominate them and take their wickets. That was the confidence level I had and the whole thing was destroyed straightaway. [Audio]

On Ian Chappell's role in resurrecting his career

Naturally when I was dropped another comeback had to take place. Let me be very honest, I never put an effort to come back. I just wanted to play for my state, like how I started off, that was more important for me then. I remember Tony Lewis' side was here in 1972/73 and we were playing in Delhi. Ian Chappell's article brought me into the limelight. I was sitting there as 12th or 13th man and reading a sports magazine. There I saw Chappell's article, which was read by everyone around me, where he rated me as the greatest off spinner he has played. If Chappell had not written it, I wouldn't have played much cricket for India. That gave me a shot in the arm and today I'm recognized because of his statement. Because of his repeated reminders that I was the greatest off spinner he played, people still respect me now. [Audio]

On his matchwinning performance at Auckland in 1976

You see, Bishen was the captain but unfortunately he dropped out because of some injury. Sunny was the vice captain and automatically he took charge. Sunny had only 4-5 years of cricket behind him. Everyone knew of his latent talent, that he was a brilliant batsman, but he was still a youngster. Somewhere along the line we enjoyed a good relationship. Even though he was quite ambitious, after all every cricketer wants to lead his country, he was planning for it some other time. Maybe it came a little early. I picked three wickets in the first innings, sharing them with Venks and Chandra. In the second innings it was a one-horse race. I took eight wickets on a green top wicket and we won the match. I felt happy to have delivered the goods for my captain, Gavaskar, and happy myself for taking 11 wickets which was the best performance of my career. [Audio]

On being part of the famous spin quartet

I'm really proud that I was among the other three: Bishen, Chandra and Venkat. No other combination has taken so many wickets. The West Indies had four fast bowlers but among spinners, we took about 850 wickets. Out of that, very proudly let me tell you that about 50 per cent were taken overseas, so obviously the wickets were not tailor made for us. Lots of people say that the wickets were prepared for us, but unfortunately the records prove the other way. [Audio]

On the game of musical chairs between him and Venkat

Myself and Venkat knew exactly what was happening. We have shared rooms, shared thoughts. We respected each other, we knew our strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately we didn't have the batting strength to play all four spinners. In only one Test did we play all four: in Edgbaston (in 1967) when I had seven wickets. Venkat and myself knew that one place could be taken between us and it all depended on the given situation. So we accepted it because after all it's a team game. [Audio]

On whether the presence of Chandra and Bedi prevented him and Venkat from bowling in tandem more often

I totally agree. See, Chandra was an unpredictable match winner and Bishen was a brilliant left arm spinner. I don't think India can ever produce another one, Bishen has to produce another one. Obviously only one place is left, so who played depended on the given situation. If the strategic planning was to see that they attack with Chandra and Bishen, they required another bowler who could pretend to attack but at the same time restrict the rate of scoring. That was Venkat because I was also an attacking bowler, so it was a question of the captain's gamble. But the Bishen-Chandra combination was rarely dislodged at all. The Indian attack revolved around them and in fact we were a cementing force for these two. [Audio]

On life after the end of his playing career

See, I love this game and thanks to my engineering degree I'm a decent planner. I went with the Indian team to Australia as manager for the Benson and Hedges World Championships. We won it very convincingly but I didn't get another chance. I don't know why it happened to me. I'm a good student of the game and have an eye for mistakes on the cricketing field, which is one of my strengths in taking a wicket. So I can communicate with the bowler if he's doing something wrong. By God's grace, if this opportunity (as NCA coach) which has come my way continues for a while, what I did not do as a bowler, maybe I'll be able to achieve it now. [Audio]

On his current role as a spin guru to budding youngsters

I always believe that to be a good teacher, you explain to a person and see whether the boy has understood or not. The next step is to give a demo which I do quite comfortably. I've not lost anything, except the speed at which the ball traverses, but the rest of my bowling faculties are still there. The ball dips, there is deception, even my planning, my rudiments are very strong. So I attempt to impart that knowledge to youngsters because after all spin is our strength. We are trying to gear ourselves up in pace bowling but the role of spin is very important in both versions of the game. The logic is very simple. In the one-dayers, 20 overs have to be bowled by spin out of the 50. So they have to be effective and can be so only by taking wickets. They can't restrict the runs, that is for sure. In the five day game, after 15-20 overs, the spinners are in operation for the next 60 overs; they call the shots for the rest of the day. The NCA has given me a great opportunity to impart my knowledge. The first fruit has already been seen. Last year Harbhajan, Sarandeep and Ramesh Powar were with me. They're all doing pretty well and Harbhajan has come into the limelight with a remarkable performance. So, the rudiments have been told. I always believe in the basics. You've got to know the ABC but one also has to know the difference between A and a. In a few years time history will repeat itself with four of our spinners dominating world cricket. In all other aspects Indian cricket has improved tremendously. We are as good as any other side and with four spinners and aggressive pace bowlers, I can't see why we should not rule the world for the next decade. [Audio]

EAS Prasanna: [Part I]

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