The Karnataka pacer has been around for a while, and is clearly in the larger pool of players for India now
Prasidh Krishna‘s pace and nip have earned him a spot in India’s 18-member ODI squad for the series against England, and given the rest of the members of the squad, Krishna is the only relatively unknown quantity. Whether he gets a game or not, his selection indicates he is part of the larger pool of players for India as they head into a sequence of World Cups. Here’s a look at the Karnataka pacer.
He is 25 now, and has played 48 List A games. Injuries and team dynamics in Karnataka have meant his first-class matches tally stands only at nine so far. He has also been a regular member of the playing XI for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL. Krishna’s first brush with senior competitive cricket – when still a teenager – came when he played for Karnataka against the touring Bangladesh A side in 2015. Krishna made an impact too, as he grabbed 5 for 49, his wickets including Anamul Haque, Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das and Nasir Hossain, all Bangladesh internationals.
That opportunity came only because R Vinay Kumar and Abhimanyu Mithun were absent, but Krishna’s performance ensured he remained in the reckoning after that. But even before that, he had been a net bowler for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, so he wasn’t completely unknown.
Krishna’s climb up the ladder in domestic cricket was moderately quick. He made his List A debut against Jharkhand in the Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2016-17, where he got 13 wickets – the most for Karnataka – at an average and economy of 16.61 and 3.82, respectively. He topped the team table again the following season with 17 wickets at 16.52 while being the second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament.
By this time, Krishna had attracted enough attention to find himself on the radar of IPL scouts. An injury to Kamlesh Nagarkoti opened the door for Krishna. That season, he added another feather to his cap by putting in a match-winning performance of 3 for 37 in the Vijay Hazare final against Saurashtra. The future was bright.
Up and down in the IPL
Krishna was picked up by the Knight Riders in 2018 and made his IPL debut that same season. He picked up ten wickets in seven games, albeit at a high economy rate. That included 4 for 30 against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in a tense five-wicket win. That was after being hit for 80 off eight overs in his first two games for the team.
Though he had a forgettable tournament in 2019 despite playing 11 games, Krishna’s pace – something that he had right from his junior days – and improved control meant he remained with the Knight Riders for the next edition in the UAE.
A little more muscle…
To the pace, Krishna added muscle over the next couple of years. The year 2018 proved to be a turning point apart from his first IPL foray too. Krishna was picked in the India A squad for the tri-series against England A and West Indies A. He was also part of a quadrangular one-day series involving India A, India B, Australia A and South Africa A. Not only did his side – India B – go on to win the series, Krishna picked up eight wickets at 21.50, including 4 for 49 against South Africa A and 4 for 50 against India A. In that last match, he counted among his victims Suryakumar Yadav and Shreyas Iyer, who will now be his India team-mates.
Last February, Krishna also earned praise from Virat Kohli. Looking forward to the T20 World Cup [then scheduled for late 2020 but since postponed to 2021], Kohli had described Krishna as a potential “X-factor” in India’s squad. It could still happen.
Krishna continued his good performances in the List A circuit when he collected 14 wickets in seven games for Karnataka in the just concluded Vijay Hazare Trophy. In his side’s run to the semi-final, Krishna got 4 for 17 against Bihar in a match which Karnataka won by a massive 267 runs. Even in the semi-final against Mumbai, he pocketed 3 for 64 to eventually end the season with the most wickets for his team.
Himanshu Agrawal is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo