Prasad Pawar Interview: EXCLUSIVE

Prasad Pawar Interview: EXCLUSIVE
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Prasad Pawar Interview: EXCLUSIVE

Mumbai has produced abiding memories of outstanding players who went on to represent the country at the international level, yet its true potential lies in domestic level cricket. There is a plethora of Class and an abundance of skills & techniques that outscore every great cricketing surface provided in the city. It is said that the best players are made by the surfaces they play on in Mumbai.

When the city offered Fastrack entertainment by organizing a high-level T20 tournament where some of the elite talents get an opportunity to showcase their skills, my eyes glittered. I was squinting through my eyes only to see some of the finest all-rounders and wicket keepers in the tournament.

Prasad Pawar was the guy who amazed me. For his calm attitude and vigilance behind the stumps. Now, why was I keen to see wicket keepers cannot be an enigma after the standards set by Dhoni. I managed to grab a quick bite with him asking him about his journey.

So let's start with your early cricket life Prasad. How do you recollect the start of this grinding

Prasad: Born and brought up in the Kandivli region of Mumbai suburbs, I started my cricket at the age of 8 and like every amateur, I too started from tennis cricket. The elder boys of the clan whom I played with urged my parents to allow me to take the sport as a career. And under the coaching of Mr. Hitendra Jadhav of Poinsur Gymkhana, I took my first step into the glittering sport of absolute qualities. Because the team had no regular wicket-keeper, I took up the responsibility and ingrained the first step of integrity for my team in me.

Wicket-keepers are truly the game's underclass; seldom honored, seldom written about, noticed only when they make a mistake. And like every amateur wicket-keeper in India, Prasad too draws his inspiration from M.S Dhoni. One of the greatest the game has ever seen.
The demands of the job exceed every other department of cricket. A keeper has an additional weight that he carries with himself. He is expected to be vigilant, has to be prepared to go sideways, should be willing to get hit on the helmet, and yet the keeper is out of focus in every match.

Prasad: Absolutely!!. The cricketer that inspires me the most is MS Dhoni for sure. It surely has to be because of what he has done for the Indian team but mainly because of the way he has handled himself over the years. He has always kept it simple. Be his attitude on-field or off-the-field. He always has this sense of calmness around him whether he is batting or keeping or captaining the side. Me being a keeper/batsman/captain I have learned a lot from watching MS Dhoni playing for India. The most important lesson that I have learned from him is to keep believing, trusting, and working on your process and not think about the result or the end product. It's very easy to say but a very difficult thing to do..but if you do improve a lot as a cricketer and a human being. Though my favorite keeper-batsman is Kumar Sangakkara.

You have represented Mumbai in all Jr. level tournaments, right?.
I have represented Mumbai at all the age group levels U-13, U-14, U-16, U-19, U-23 and was in the Mumbai Senior probables for the last 2 years. I was knocking on the doors but the opportunity was not coming. At the start of this year, there were selection matches held for the Syed Mushtaq Ali and Vijay Hazare Trophy. Out of the 4 matches we played, I was the highest scorer with a century and half-century. That's when I got my first call up for the Senior Mumbai team for both the Syed Mushtaq Ali and Vijay Hazare Trophy in which I made my debut for Mumbai.

That's great!. But I suppose you started from Payade Sports Club, right? How do you express your journey with them?
I still am in Payade.I have been playing for Payyade SC since the start of my career. I started from the Under-13 age group where I had Sanjay Gaitonde as a coach. I still play for the same club. The journey will never be over with the club whom you represented for nearly 12 years. After all, this is where I have had my most amazing memories of life. The first big moment for me was when I got a bat of Rohit Sharma from my school coach Dinesh Lad sir.

Ohh!! Wait... What? A bat of Rohit Sharma? Really?

A post shared by prasad pawar (@prasadpawar311)

Prasad: Yes!! It was at the age of 15 I think. I was playing a Harris Shield match and I was getting hundreds but not converting it into a double. So Lad sir kept the Rohit Sharma's bat as a prize for me if a scored a double hundred. And I scored a 254* in the very next match of Harris Shield. The next day Lad sir gave me the bat and I was over the moon, dancing with joy. You won't believe I went on to score 7 more centuries in that season with the same bat.

Amazing!! But to be a keeper demand a next-level dedication and discipline. And then you're a wicket-keeper batsman. how do you keep to such demands of the situation?.

Prasad: To be honest it was to help the team I took the job as the team had no wicket-keeper. After that, I started building the interest in wicket-keeping, As I grew old fitness came into the game, and for a keeper, fitness is the most important thing, So I use to hit the gym, run miles every day, With that, I use to do keeping drills for almost an hour daily, dividing my time both for batting as well as keeping, It was very hectic attending School/college- traveling for practice- batting drills- keeping drills, That was almost my whole day. At the end of the day, you die on the bed and resurrect the next day. But the time you spend grinding in the nets gives you results on the ground.

Now that's what I see in a dedicated sportsman. And what we saw in MPL was something you said about grinding in nets.

Prasad: MPL was surely something I will cherish for a long time. The absolute turning point of my career. When I was playing for Sobo Supersonics. I was representing the state at the time but was not the one who was recognized. I was drafted into the team and played my first match against Andheri arcs. I did not get to bat in the first match but went on to score an 18 ball 40 in the second match and a 47 ball 85 in the third match. I became the highest-scoring wicketkeeper-batsman of the first MPL and I was in the team of the league that year. I think that has to be the most amazing memory of my career to date. Also, when I got selected in the BCCI specialist camp at the age of 17. It was a camp of 25 players from around the country called to attend a camp headed by Lalchand Rajput sir. It was a great feeling to be selected in that camp where I got to learn a lot and improve on my skill level.

The match where you scored those gritty 85 runs was the one that hit us all. What a blitzkrieg innings it was after your team was reeling down with 4 wickets.

Prasad: Thank you! (With the child-like-smile)

What I personally feel as a cricket enthusiast is that runs can never be accepted as the true indication of a player's greatness. A fighting inning of 35 or a quickfire 40 in odd 15 balls under a tricky situation may not get a lot of appreciation yet its merits may outweigh many centuries that are recorded in the season.

I always believed that confidence in one's ability is perhaps the main requisite for success. You grow in confidence when you just express yourself out there on the ground and eventually the class in you shows up. You must have had such moments as well, right?

Prasad: Absolutely!!. I would like to mention here 2 of my best innings that I feel I have played. First is when I was playing for the Mumbai Under-19 team in Kerela in the Coochbehar trophy. I scored a ton (107 to be precise). I remember that innings because I was making a comeback as a was not included in the team in the previous match. I had a point to prove to myself more than anyone else that I can succeed at any level. And second innings I would like to mention here is of the semi-final of the Police shield against MIG and we were chasing 275. We were reeling at 50-4 when I went in to bat with a plan to stay out there for long where I eventually scored 115* when we chased the target down. I hardly played a wrong shot that day. That innings gave me a lot of confidence and I became the Man of the tournament that year.

Wicket-keeper, as I said is always out of focus on the ground and yet is the most important of them all. A team can lose a batsman, the loss of a bowler is usually more serious but not always fatal. But when a wicket-keeper falls out confusion usually sets in. Dropped catches, missed stumpings, overthrows make it worse. I'm sure you have a moment to cherish behind the wickets as well.

Prasad: Hahaha!. Indeed!. Many times. The recent I remember was in the Talim Shield, where we were defending the target of 140 odd runs. It was a T20 match and in the last over 12 runs were needed. The set batsman hit the first ball for 4 and then the second ball took an inside edge. I took a one-handed blinder catch diving to my left. That was an amazing one as we won the match by 4 runs.

And there is no doubt you are an incredible sportsman like some of the elites of the game. You grind every day to see yourself at the higher levels of the sport. Let's take a bite of your aspirations.

Prasad: My aspirations have always been to represent India and be an Indian test cricketer. But I like living in the present and following the process as it keeps me level-headed all the time. For now, my current goal is to contribute in the best way possible to make the Mumbai Ranji team win trophies and get back the stature it has enjoyed in the past. And I am sure if I keep putting in the hard work and keep following the process I am going to achieve everything I have ever dreamt of.

That's short and simple like he said he follows the Mahi of the game. Thank you Prasad for talking to us and sharing your incredible story with us. We wish you luck and look forward to seeing to excelling at the higher levels of the game.

Prasad: Thank you so much!!

This incredible cricketer who I see working so hard to excel in everything that comes his way in the game is truly an amazing person. Players like these struggle in private, grind hard alone, and shows the results on the ground. This pandemic halted the game for two years in the country and sportsman like him has kept grinding in such hard times too. I truly hope and it's my wish that the honest efforts of Prasad get recognized and we all see him one level up each year in all formats.

Comments (21)

  • Abhay Poyarekar
    Abhay Poyarekar
    Yes, indeed Prasad is a very hard working
  • Viraj
    Prasad is one of the most down to earth and an inspirational cricketer !!! Just love the way he plays and always carries the approach !!! Surely the interview motivates a lott of youngsters and showcases such grit...Prasad played with !! Loved the intervie
  • Kunal Chaudhary
    Kunal Chaudhary
    Great work
  • Bhagyshree pawar
    Bhagyshree pawar
    Brilliant Interview...All the Best...
  • Ketan Kini
    Ketan Kini
    Superb Prasad, best of luck and wish you achieve everything you have ever dreamt of.
  • Hrishikesh Sawant
    Hrishikesh Sawant
    Excellent interview Prasad
  • Alok Tare
    Alok Tare
    Nice to read this. These are the kind of players India needs. Keep it up! Keep working hard!
  • Rutuja Phalke
    Rutuja Phalke
    Buddy ! You have come a long way Youโ€™re ambitious and hardworking So definitely you gonna achieve your goals Stay dedicated and passionate about your game. Khass ! Your journey is amazing
  • Swapneel U Bhosale
    Swapneel U Bhosale
    Prasad is very talented and hard working person. He has struggled a lot. He should be given chance to play in Indian team. All the best, Prasad
  • Swapnil Palshetkar
    Swapnil Palshetkar
    I was truely w8ing to see a Wicket keeper batsmen like Prasad Pawar from Mumbai to take a charge in blue jersey behind the stumps for Team India.. All the best Prasad
  • Sunil Baxi
    Sunil Baxi
    Prashad pawar is a good guys playing cricket in childhood, I am watching a play cricket for his 7 years of age. I want to see in a future Indian cricket player .
  • Swapnil Prakash Patil
    Swapnil Prakash Patil
    So proud of your journey as a fellow Mumbai suburban citizen. Waiting to see you to represent team India in all 3 formats. Way to go. Best of luck ๐Ÿ‘
  • Suraksha Bhat
    Suraksha Bhat
    All the Best For You Future๐Ÿ‘
  • Paresh Mashete
    Paresh Mashete
    Awesome Prasad. Hats off to your dedication.. Keep growing ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐Ÿฅณ๐Ÿฅณ
  • Apurva Samant
    Apurva Samant
    Great going boy.. and all the very best ๐Ÿ‘
  • Pratik Narvekar
    Pratik Narvekar
    Superb Prasadโ€ฆ. Hope to see you soon in the blue jerseyโ€ฆ All the best ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ
  • Charles chettiar
    Charles chettiar
    All the best bro..always in my prayers..wish u get recognized soon God bless...
  • Mrunmai Parab
    Mrunmai Parab
    Hard work always pays..everyone gets there share of glory ..what is needed is persistance and never die attitude it takes u closer to success everytime u make effort rock champ as your are ..honest and hardworking towards your goal ..glory w
  • Hemangi Shenoy
    Hemangi Shenoy
    Many many Congratulations Prasad. Cheers for victory.
  • Alekh Huddar
    Alekh Huddar
    Great achievement, Prasad!
  • Ankit Naiksatam
    Ankit Naiksatam
    All the best Prasad !!!! May all your efforts and hard work become fruitful and may you get all what your efforts deserve !!!

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