Plumber who fought to keep cricket dreams alive makes it to Odisha Ranji team

Prashant Rana, the right arm fast medium bowler, is one of five new faces in the team

Born and raised in the remote village of Madhapur in Nayagarh district, Rana was mad for the game from childhood.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

After toiling hours under the scorching sun and crawling in cramped space to repair pipes and fix drainage in the first half of the day, Prashant Rana would find extremely taxing to slog further in the cricket field in the afternoon. But, this has not diminished his passion for pursuing his dream of making it to the top league in the cricket-crazy country.

Life has come a long way for this humble plumber, who is all set to represent Odisha in the Ranji Trophy tournament slated to be held in Ahmedabad next week. Prashant, the lanky right-arm fast-medium bowler, is one of five new faces in Odisha’s State team for the Ranji Tournament.

Born and raised in the remote village of Madhapur in Nayagarh district, the 24-year-old cricketer was mad for the game from childhood.

IPL Auction 2022 live updates

His father, a priest in village Shiv Temple, and elder brother, an agricultural labourer, were not in a position to help him realise his dream. Prashant, however, started to earn a name in village-level cricket tournaments played with soft tennis balls during school days.

“I was so hooked to the cricket that after appearing Class X board examination in the morning, I would go straight to play a tournament in the afternoon. Fellow villagers exerted pressure on my father and brother to send me to either Bhubaneswar or Cuttack for proper training,” said Prashant, who is currently undergoing quarantine with other Odisha players in Ahmedabad.

In 2012, the cricketer started working in a private company to check fire safety measures in hotels. Though the monthly earning of Rs. 14,000 was enough for him to stay and play cricket in Bhubaneswar, the job consumed up the entire day. He quit the job. His family members assured him they would pay Rs. 2000 per month so that he would have focused training in Cuttack.

“After three months, my father was diagnosed to be suffering from tuberculosis. My family stopped sending money. I started working as an assistant with a plumber at Rs. 210 per day. As I had to work the entire day to earn the wage, I pleaded with the plumber to pay me Rs. 100 for working first half and allow play cricket in the second half,” he said.

The arrangement worked. Fortunately, he found the mentorship of Pradeep Chauhan, the cricket coach in Cuttack-based Union Sporting Club, who has been working with budding cricketers without charging any amount for the past four decades.   

READ: Bowling unit can do better, says Deepti Sharma after loss to NZ Women in 1st ODI

Prashant would cycle 40-km a day to shuttle between his rented accommodation and the ground of Union Sporting Club. His hard work paid off. After playing a club-level cricket series, he was selected for the Nayagarh district team. He went on to captain the district team in Kalahandi Cup. The performance in the tournament is taken into account for selection in the state team. Alongside, Prashant also graduated from being an assistant to an independent plumber.

“Prashant is a very tough cricketer. He has worked hard on his swing and pace. His height is his advantage. He makes the ball rise sharply after pitching it. The nip and extra-bounce generated by the bowler disconcert batters,” said Chauhan.

In October 2021, he was called to the state-level selection camp, where his bowling impressed selectors. The coach said Prashant’s ability to bowl fast and generate bounce with old balls during day games gives him a good chance to be selected in the playing eleven.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :