‘Boult is a very easy guy for me to get along with. One thing that I learned from these cricketers is that they keep things very simple on the field,” says Prasidh Krishna.
It was March, 2021. India had just unleashed its new crown jewel, Prasidh Krishna, adding him to their ever-growing stock of fast bowlers. The tall and spindly pacer from Karnataka was handed his maiden ODI cap by statemate KL Rahul. Krishna came on the back of a terrific domestic season where he finished as the leading wicket-taker for his side in domestic 50-over cricket.
And soon, he found himself under the pump. Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy feasted on his juicy, overpitched deliveries, whacking four fours and a couple of sixes. It looked as though nothing was going in his favour. But eight overs later, he was reintroduced into the attack, and he responded by getting rid of Jason Roy. An over later, an off-cutter bowled at 142 kph, dismissed Ben Stokes, too, and Prasidh finished the game with four wickets. What had started as a horror show, ended as a dream.
“It’s the most memorable performance of my career,” Prasidh recalls, adding, “The way I came back after going for runs in my first spell made me feel that I belong to this level. I always knew I had the pre-requisite skill but to showcase it at that stage was a massive achievement for me.”
Krishna inherited the love for sports. His father was a fast bowler and his mother used to play volleyball for the state’s team. Naturally, he pursued both sports and played them regularly until he was 14.
What then, prompted him towards cricket more? For Krishna, it wasn’t really a conscious decision. “I used to play a lot of volleyball and cricket. It’s just that I loved cricket so much that I lost touch with volleyball after eighth grade. I didn’t really make a decision; it happened on its own.”
And while having parents who played sports, certainly helped Krishna nurture a love for it, what was more important is how supportive they have been. “They never stopped or questioned me at any point. In fact, they always encouraged me to go out and play sports,” he confides, adding that like most parents, his too, were concerned about his academic performance but didn’t let it come in the way of his cricketing journey.
That could explain why today, Krishna is one of the most indomitable fast bowlers out there. And while at the outset, speed may seem like a pointless thing, for practitioners of the craft, it’s the only thing that matters. Echoing this, the 26-year-old says, “If you look at Dale Steyn, he was able to move the ball at 150kph, and that’s what makes him a deadly proposition. None of the bowlers want to slow down to generate more movement. All of us want to bowl as fast as our bodies allow,” tells.
Krishna’s mulishness is a common trait shared by all genuine fast bowlers like him. But he’s aware that on occasion, everyone needs to make a bargain. “It’s about finding the most optimal way, depending on the pitch and other factors,” Krishna, who has grown up idolising the Moto GP legend Valentino Rossi, tells us.
“Rossi was the first person I watched on television, and he was also at the peak of his career. As a kid, I used to ride my bicycle in a very rash way, twisting, turning, tripping over, and injuring myself countless times while my mother watched me,” he remembers.
At the tender age of 22, Krishna made his IPL debut for Kolkata Knight Riders and finished the campaign with ten wickets in seven matches. The next season proved to be more difficult. He played four more matches than in his debut season, but picked six fewer wickets. The summer of 2022 can be thought of as his breakthrough season, in which he played 17 matches, claimed 19 dismissals, and for the first time in his IPL career, his economy rate dropped below nine.
But he doesn’t want to call it a breakthrough season, and instead, look at it as one of the better seasons he had. For him, it’s a work-in-progress, because with each edition, he grew to become more consistent with his game. Explaining this, he says, “Reflecting on my performances from the last four seasons brought clarity about my own game. I understood what worked for me and what didn’t.”
Sharing the new ball duty with Trent Boult for Rajasthan was an important learning curve for Krishna too. “Boult is a very easy guy for me to get along with. One thing that I learned from these cricketers is that they keep things very simple on the field. There’s pressure on the game itself so you don’t need to add more by being harsh on yourself.”
The vibrant team environment at the franchise clearly brought the best out of him. It was his first IPL season, where got a consistent run, not missing even a single game. “We knew what was happening on the field, and helped each other at various stages of the game. My teammates would come and talk to me during meetings, and everything seemed very seamless.”
Now, there’s some clamour about Krishna’s inclusion in the Test squad as well. There’s no dearth of highly skilled fast bowlers in the current Indian side, but they seem to miss an out-and-out fast bowler like Krishna, who will add a new dimension to their attack. Krishna himself though, isn’t thinking much about that. “I’m a very process-oriented guy. I don’t really think about setting up goals and working towards them. I take each day as it comes, do my best, and the rest is not under my control.”
However you want to look at it, this pacer is definitely a rising star, already signing deals with leading sports brands like ASICS, which roped him in as an ambassador earlier this year. As a patron of the Japanese sports brand himself, commenting on the collaboration he says, “Their brand philosophy has always struck a chord with me.”