Proving that talent, ability and calibre are not confined to big cities, a teen from tribal-dominated Jashpur district of Chhattisgarh has been selected as a support player by Mumbai Indians for the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Prashant Rai Paikra, a 19-year-old teen from village Tapkara in the district, has been selected by Mumbai Indians as a support player. The selection of Prashant for the mega cricketing event has resulted in cheers among his villagers as he is the first player from the tribal community from Chhattisgarh to secure his berth for IPL.
Speaking exclusively to ANI, Prashant recalled that while playing a match of Under-25 at Rajkot in Gujarat, his gaming skill caught the attention of the squad of Mumbai Indians and the team called him for trials. Based on his performance during the trials, the 19-year-old cricketer was selected for D Y Patil Trophy by the team Reliance following which he was picked up as a support player by Mumbai Indians for IPL. After picking 25 players for its squad in the auction, the franchise purchased a few more players as ‘support player’ to deal with the situation if any of their players got injured. These support players’ travel as well as actively practice with the team.
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IPL is a very big format wherein renowned players across the globe register their participation and practicing with the team, which features top-level international players, will help him out to learn the technicalities of the game, Prashant believes. Sharing about his journey, the young cricketer said initially, he started playing cricket with a tennis ball and eventually got introduced to the season ball in Odisha where he went for further studies after completing High School.
“With passing time, I sharpened my gaming skills and get the opportunity to play several tournaments before getting selected as a support player of Mumbai Indians,” said Prashant, elaborating that playing in separate formats helps players to gain experience. Detailing about his diet, the fast bowler said that diet plays a crucial role and players have to pay special attention towards it. “Being a fast bowler, I have to manage carbohydrates, protein and vitamins for maintaining high-level energy,” added Prashant.
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Calling South African pace legend Dale Steyn and Indian pacer Mohammad Shami as his inspiration, Prashant attributed his success to father and brothers.