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An interview with Prayas Ray Barman of RCB

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Prayas_Ray_Barman_India_CricketFor wonder boy Prayas Ray Barman, clicking a selfie with Virat Kohli was the biggest dream. Thanks to his brilliant debut season in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, where he was the highest wicket taker for Bengal, Prayas was picked up by Royal Challengers Bangalore for a whopping Rs. 1.5 Crore at the Indian Premier League 2019 auction.

He had little to no expectations from the auction, and now he has become the talk of town. Prayas shares his journey as a cricketer with us and talks about his experiences.

Let’s start from the beginning.

I was born in Agartala, Tripura. But I am basically from Delhi as my parents stay there. My father is a doctor and mother is a computer programmer. I was in Delhi till 2012. Then I came to Durgapur to my grandfather’s place.

Where and when did you begin your journey of cricket?

I have attended coaching in both Delhi and Durgapur. In Delhi, I used to get trained in Gargi College. In Durgapur, it was at Durgapur Cricket Club.

How did your interest grow?

Interest for cricket was always there since childhood. My father played cricket at university level. So he supported me a lot. I used to watch cricket matches from my childhood. Once I was selected for the Bengal Under-14 and Under-16 levels, I realized that I could take this game as a career option.

When did you get your first break?

I came to Durgapur from Delhi in my summer vacation and then participated in the CAB (Cricket Association of Bengal) Under-14 Ambar Roy Memorial tournament for Durgapur Cricket Club. Based on my performance, I got selected for the Bengal age group team for two consecutive years. This was my first break. Shuttling between places and managing training was tough initially, but once I played for Bengal, I realized that I should take cricket seriously now.

How was your experience of playing for Bengal?

It was a great team environment. I never felt like a young member of the team. Our captain, Manoj Tiwary, and coach Siraj sir supported us a lot. There was no pressure from their side and we were always told to play freely. That was one of the reasons that I could do well on debut.

Now I mostly practice with Bengal Under-19 team and we have great facilities. We have much better practice sessions and preparations. Even players from other states often mention how our association takes good care of us in terms of infrastructure and facilities.

Did you attend trials or bowl in the nets for any IPL team?

I was a net-bowler for KKR in last season’s IPL.

How was the experience? Any special tips?

In KKR, I used to discuss a lot with Piyush Chawala and Kuldeep Yadav. They used to teach us how to bring control and how to outthink the batsman.

Who is your favorite spinner?

My favorite spinner is Shane Warne. He inspired me to bowl leg-spin. My height is 6’1”, almost as tall as Anil Kumble and people say our bowling actions are similar.

Did you have any expectations from the 2019 IPL auction?

There was no expectation from the auction. I just knew that my name would be called at a certain time and no one would show much interest. I did not expect anyone to select me. So when a big team like RCB picked me, it was a great moment for me. A key reason is that the captain of RCB is my idol, Virat Kohli, and I would be able to play with him. I have followed this team for the last 11 seasons and now I will try to deliver my best for them. Hopefully we can win the trophy this time.

How did you get the news?

I was watching the auction on TV. I watch the IPL auction every year and try to understand the strategy of teams in selecting their squad. This time, I knew my name was there, but there was no expectation of being selected.

If you didn’t have any expectations, what made you apply?

Each player has to apply through his state board. That form is shared with the franchises and they choose a few preferred names that are sent to the IPL auction. So your name may not be sent to the auction even after you apply.

I did not fill up the form initially. On the last date of submission, I got a call from CAB at around 7.30 in the evening. They told me that some of the franchises had shown an interest in me and wanted me to apply. So I went to CAB and submitted the form that evening at the last moment.

Did you go to trials for any IPL team?

I got calls from Rajasthan, Delhi and Mumbai to join their respective trials around November. I could only go to the trials for the Delhi Capitals since I was playing for Bengal at that time. My experience was pretty good in that trial.

Any particular coach you would like to mention?

I am thankful to all my coaches. I started with Ajay Verma in Delhi. But I am thankful to Shibnath sir from Durgapur and Jayanta Ghosh Dastidar sir in Kolkata. I am in touch with all of them and their combined advice helps me to always get success.

What is your goal from IPL 2019?

I want to learn from the experienced players like Virat Kohli and Yuzvendra Chahal.

Do you have any special plan for your IPL debut?

Not really. I want to play my natural game. I want to play positively without any pressure. Negativity brings pressure; instead I want to focus on bowling well.

What about your studies? How do you balance them and cricket?

I am now in 12th standard. The board exams are in March. That may clash with IPL, so I need to discuss that with my school. I am currently studying in Kalyani Public School. I also have tuitions at home, so whenever I get some time I try to study. I get lots of support from my schoolteachers and friends. I was not under pressure regarding studies as my family has always encouraged me to play cricket.

What is your next target? Have you thought about playing in Ranji Trophy?

I am yet to get a chance in the Ranji Trophy, but it is a different game altogether. I still have to put in a lot of effort to make my debut in the Ranji Trophy. I wish to play for India one day but for now, I want to go slowly and make the best of all the opportunities I come across.



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