Prasidh Krishna is not the bowling answer India was expecting but the solution they need right now

Imagine this: India was struggling to pick wickets against a top quality bowling opponent. Jasipino Bumrah and Mohammed Shami had a talk about the new ball but had absolutely nothing to show for their efforts. Both played a brilliant spell but in the unforgiving Indian heat, both started blowing and gasping for every single drop of available oxygen.

At that time, the Indian captain tried to look around to find a possible solution. He thinks about spin and unleashes Yuzvendra Chahal. However, the beaters were established from the start and attacked the tweaker with disdain.

Suddenly, India seemed to have run out of options. The beaters, who have faced plenty of problems to solve Men In Blue’s opening spell, now seem poised to dominate. And, unsettlingly from India’s point of view, they appear to have no melons to stop that momentum.

For a moment, the captain of India (most likely Rohit Sharma) looked up at the sky, begging for a tempo that could take on the hard ground in the middle and break the game. He doesn’t want that nimble bowler to be as clever as Bumrah or Shami. He just asked him to be as honest as any trier and to invest every bit of energy.

And then his eyes were trained on Prasidh Krishna – a catcher who can move new balls pretty well but more importantly, a fast pitcher who can break ties partnership and also quite ingenious.

So far, Prasidh has not played many ODIs in his career. He has only appeared in six matches and is often used as a team player, with the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Bumrah, Shami and Shardul Thakur before him in pecking order.

Prasidh Krishna has enjoyed great success in his fledgling ODI career

However, whenever he competed, he made sure that the rest of the nation sat up and took notice. Of the six ODIs, Prasidh has 15 blob – with those scales scattered across the facets against Britain, South Africa and the West Indies.

That means 2.5 goals per turn, which is a huge achievement in itself. But considering the shots he has worked on, it has worked quite well – for both Prasidh and the Indian cricket team.

Of the 15 catches he made, seven came in what is considered the middle of a half (11-40 pass). For the past few years, India has been very confused and upset during that period, especially when Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav fell off the cliff.

They haven’t been able to put enough pressure on late game after that, meaning they’ve often had to chase equal targets or regularly see their relative average totals hunted.

With Prasidh in the mix, that could be about to change. Not only because he seems to have a good track record in doing so, but also because his biggest bowling asset seems to fit the role India wants him to play.

The pacemaker is tall, produces good speed and produces annoying bounce, even from relatively docile surfaces. He also has an uncanny knack for snapping hitters and getting them to play shots they wouldn’t normally – a byproduct of his raw speed.

His ODI debut was at Pune in a series of matches where most Indian bowlers were eliminated by England. However, Prasidh almost always finds a way to hold his own. At the game against South Africa, he wasn’t invited until the series was a foregone conclusion. His stingy bowling, however, ensured that South Africa didn’t post a total beyond 300 (they ended up with 287).

In fact, it was the next box that Prasidh ticked. He didn’t really stand out as a death archer but picked up six of his 15 players during that period of the ODI innings. Prasidh’s pace means there will be days when he uses a little bit – like he did in his 3rd ODI game against England.

However, his propensity to continue hitting tough long distances is priceless. With growing experience, it can also be a refreshing change from the full length Bhuvneshwar, Bumrah and Shami try to find death. It is also something that will keep the batters guessing.

If you’re going to draw parallels, Prasidh’s skill set is very similar to that of Liam Plunkett – an agile bowler who plays hard passes and is instrumental in the game. His Winning the 2019 World Cup, by the way, also gives India the luxury of not investing Bumrah’s energies in the middle and conserving him for Power Play and death.

Prasidh isn’t bad with the new ball either – as he showed against the West Indies in the 2nd ODI on Wednesday. He doesn’t swing the ball as much as Deepak Chahar but has a monstrous seam motion that, combined with his tendency to always keep his foot at a difficult length, makes him a complicated proposition to handle.

Said for a while but even more so today. India’s next red pitcher is Prasidh Krishna.…

So much so that his performances have led many to label him a promising red pitcher. He also has a domestic record to back that up – 34 goals in nine games for an average of 20.26 and strike rate of 43.5 should not be mocked.

There’s nothing wrong with marking a 25-year-old pacing for success across formats. However, from a more pressing perspective, it is imperative that Prasidh be seen as an important contributor to the ODI side.

Until a year ago, India, quite often, hoped that some form of divine intervention would cure their average bowling sickness. Various bowlers, including a Ravichandran Ashwin, an experienced Bhuvneshwar and a returning Kuldeep were tried. However, not many people think that Prasidh will work as the tonic they crave.

India might not expect him to be the answer to their middleweight bowling woes. Now, he might be the solution they need. And, at the age of 25, he can be such a realized solution that India often forgets where the problem begins. Prasidh Krishna is not the bowling answer India was expecting but the solution they need right now


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