From Plumber To Ranji Trophy Player, Odisha’s Prashant Rana Ready To Live Fairytale
Ahmedabad: Prashant Rana has been passionate about cricket from a young age. But little did he imagine that he would be part of the Odisha Ranji Trophy team one day.
Life has indeed come a long way for the plumber, who would sweat it out on cricket grounds after toiling hard to fix leaking pipes and drains in the first half of the day.
That he came from a humble background and had to work doubly hard to fulfil his dream didn’t deter Prashant.
The tall medium-pacer has been rewarded by being named as one of five new faces named in the Odisha Ranji squad. What makes his selection unique is the fact that he is the first cricketer to have been picked in the Odisha Ranji squad without having played for the state at the junior level.
The 24-year-old Prashant, currently in quarantine with his teammates at Ahmedabad, will look forward to making his debut as Odisha take on Goa, Saurashtra and Mumbai in Elite Group D.
Born in Nayagarh’s Madhapur village, Prashant’s family didn’t have the resources to help him hone cricket skills as his father was a priest and elder brother an agricultural labourer.
The young boy played tennis-ball cricket and made a mark in village-level tournaments.
“I was so hooked to cricket that after appearing in the 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,” Rana was quoted as saying by The Hindu.
Almost a decade ago, Prashant started working in a private company to check fire safety measures in hotels. He earned Rs 14,000 monthly, but his job consumed left him with little time to pursue cricket.
When Prashant quit the job, his family promised to give him Rs 2,000 per month to train in Cuttack.
“After three months, my father was diagnosed with tuberculosis. My family stopped sending the 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 half day and allow me to play cricket in the second half,” he recalled.
He was lucky to be mentored by Pradeep Chauhan, a coach at Cuttack’s Union Sporting Club who worked with budding cricketers for free.
Prashant had to cycle 40 km a day to shuttle between his rented accommodation and the Union Sporting Club ground, but he didn’t mind at all.
He graduated from club-level cricket to make the Nayagarh district team, and went on to lead the district team in Kalahandi Cup.
As his performances improved on the cricket field, Prashant also became and independent plumber.
Prashant was called to a state-level selection camp last October, and he did enough in the nets and practice games to impress Odisha selectors and pick him for the Ranji squad.
His coach feels Prashant has a good chance to make the Odisha playing XI as he has the ability to bowl quick and generate bounce with the old ball during day games.
Odisha open their campaign with a four-day clash against Goa from February 17.