Prasidh Krishna breaks 24-yr-old record to join long list of pacers shining on debut


Add Prasidh Krishna to a long and illustrious list of Karnataka fast bowlers to have turned out for India.

A wiry frame belies the pace that the lanky bowler—he’s 6ft2—can generate, but Krishna, 25, was always earmarked for better things in life. In 2020, for example, India captain Virat Kohli had said that Krishna “could possibly be an X-factor” for the national team in the shortest format. A year later, Krishna made his debut in the first ODI of the three-match England series with a 136km/hr back-of-the-length delivery to opener Jonny Bairstow.

His debut did not start on a high note as the England openers went on a rampage (to be sure, every India bowler except Bhuvneshwar Kumar was blasted off the park), but Krishna showed his ability to withstand cricket at the highest level when he came back with a superb second spell. He took opener Jason Roy with a short one that came in, and then Ben Stokes—the first two England wickets to fall—at a time when England were scoring at nearly 8.5 runs per over. It could have been three wickets in two overs for Krishna had Kohli not dropped Eoin Morgan at slip the next ball after dismissing Stokes. That over, Krishna’s fifth, ended a wicket maiden, setting up India’s counter-attack.

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He finished with 4/54, accounting for Sam Billings and No 11 Tom Curran towards the end. A spectacular comeback was complete. This was the first time an Indian seamer had taken more than three wickets on ODI debut. Krishna went past Noel David’s record for best figures by an Indian seamer on debut. David had taken 3 for 21 on his ODI debut 24 years ago in West Indies in 1997.

Best bowling figures by an Indian on ODI debut
Best bowling figures by an Indian on ODI debut

“I want to be called a hit-the-deck bowler, I think I’m better at it. I will go back, work on my lengths, and come back. I hope I can do it for the team for long. From the beginning even if we are going for runs, the talk was to pick up a wicket,” Krishna said after the match.

Grooming days

Not even 20 when he took five wickets on debut for Karnataka against Bangladesh A in 2015, Krishna had to play the waiting game with Abhimanyu Mithun, R Vinay Kumar and S Aravind taking the top slots in the state team. Not till Kumar’s departure to Puducherry in 2020 did Krishna finally get a decent look-in. By then he had already made his mark in the Indian Premier League, making his debut for Kolkata Knight Riders in 2018 after coming in as Kamlesh Nagarkoti’s replacement and taking 10 wickets in seven games.

The start was nightmarish though, with Krishna returning 0/39 and 1/41 against Mumbai Indians. But he ended that tournament on a high, taking 4/30 against Sunrisers Hyderabad in a five-wicket victory. The same year, Krishna was picked in the India A squad for a tri-series against England A and West Indies A but his moment came later in a quadrangular match against South Africa A where he took 4/49 for India B. 2018 was a good year for Krishna in domestic cricket as well, where he finished as the second highest wicket-taker in the Vijay Hazare trophy with 17 wickets from 8 matches.

A quick learner, Krishna took little time to cement his reputation as a proper white-ball operator in the domestic circuit. He displayed the same maturity on Tuesday as well, adjusting his length and shifting to a tighter line in the second spell after Bairstow picked him apart in the first. And the wickets kept coming. In the long list of pacers—Mohammad Siraj, T Natarajan, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini—lining up to stake their claim in what is already one of the world’s finest pace attacks, now add Krishna.


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