How IPL made Yarra Prithviraj a better bowler

The left-armer is the new three-for man for Andhra in Ranji Trophy having bagged 15 wickets in four outings.

Yarra Prithviraj

Andhra bowler Yarra Prithviraj in action at the Ranji Trophy.   -  K R Deepak

Vizag lad Yarra Prithviraj has been claiming three wickets in pairs in the Ranji Trophy. On Thursday, the opening day of the quarterfinal against Saurashtra at the CSR Sharma College Ground here, he picked three more; the visitor finished at 226/6.

Being unbeaten on this green top, Andhra is dreaming of a maiden semifinal berth. The four-pronged pace attack — comprising C. Stephen, K.V. Sasikanth, Mohammad Rafi and Prithviraj — deserves credit for bowling tirelessly. They bowled 79 overs together.

Prithviraj — whose figures read 20-3-51-3 — was ready for the grind. The 22-year-old learnt the mental toughness from his brief IPL gig with Kolkata Knight Riders in 2019.

Read | Ranji Trophy: Saurashtra's Jadeja, Jani keep Andhra at bay

The left-arm pacer, who was part of only two games, had cleaned up David Warner on debut. And bowling to superstars at the nets made him tougher.

“I was bowling to Chris Lynn, Andre Russell and Dinesh Karthik on a regular basis. It was a good challenge and I could assess where I stand if I have to play at the higher level,” he told Sportstar at the end of day’s play.

“This wicket was a sporting one.  It helped the fast bowlers as well as the batsmen. If we can pull out those four wickets quickly tomorrow morning, it will help us,” he added.

Andhra has been banking on its pace pack and the department — led by Sasikanth with 35 wickets in this season — is oozing with energy. “It is a challenge we are familiar with as we have been doing this for the past eight matches. It can tire you out,” said Prithviraj.

Unfortunately, he missed out on an IPL contract for the upcoming season. But there are no regrets. He wants to repair the loose ends by playing domestic cricket and make a strong comeback next season.

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“IPL just gives you the extra boost to go out and give your best shot. I don’t see it [the snub] as a failure. I take it as a positive. I don’t mind missing out on one season of the IPL. There must be something lacking in me and I know there is a lot of work to be done on my bowling and fitness,” he added.

Prithviraj has a distinct style of holding the ball when he runs in; a mid-arm action that looks slightly injury-prone. “You don’t know what is happening to your body till you go back and check the video. I didn’t know this was happening. As of now, this action has been working for me. I don’t want to make too many changes. I will just try to fine-tune it and get better with whatever I do.”

The green streak of hair is X factor enough.

 

Prithviraj in Ranji Trophy 2019-20 (before the quarterfinal)

3/37 and 3/26 vs Kerala

3/45 and 3/53 vs Hyderabad

1/59 and 0/9 vs Bengal

2/55 vs Vidarbha

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