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Prasanna bags Castrol Lifetime Achievement Award
Harish Kotian | September 29, 2006 16:27 IST
Legendary off-spinner Erapalli Prasanna was on Friday conferred the Castrol Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to Indian cricket.
Prasanna, who bagged 189 wickets in 49 Tests between 1962 and 1978, was a member of the great Indian spin quartet, comprising Bishen Singh Bedi, B S Chandrashekhar and S Venkatraghavan. He stood out with his guile and flight.
"It is indeed an honour to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award so many years after I have retired from active cricket," he said in Mumbai.
Prasanna -- full name Erapalli Anatharao Srinivas Prasanna -- recalled how tough it was for him to convince his family when he was first selected to the national team.
"I remember that I was selected for the West Indies tour in 1961-62. At that point of time my family was more oriented in education. My father was a doctor and he always used to believe that I was playing for time pass.
"When I was called to the Indian team, my father was shocked and very reluctant to let me go because he thought if I played cricket I would not become an engineer. But, luckily, I found a saviour in the Maharaja of Mysore, who somehow convinced my dad to let me go."
The off-spinner was an instant hit in the Carribbean and even drew rich praise from his opponents.
"In the second Test against the West Indies, at the end of the day's play Gary Sobers and Frank Worrell walked up to the then Indian manager, Ghulam Ahmed, and said, 'You have found a great spinner in Prasanna'.
"My manager replied to them saying, 'Even you have Lance Gibbs', but they replied, saying: 'I think he is better than Gibbs'."
Asked what is his fondest memory, Prasanna replied: "My fondest memory is taking Sunil Gavaskar's wicket when Karnataka won the Ranji Trophy [in 1973-74]."
Ajit Wadekar, who was Prasanna's captain for several years, said: "Prasanna was one of the best spinner our country has produced.
"I was lucky to have these four spinners playing under me. I think I wouldn't have won so many matches without them."
The Castrol Lifetime Achievement award comprises of a trophy and cheque of Rs 500,000.
Previous winners of the coveted award are: Vijay Hazare (1999-00), Polly Umrigar (2000-01), B S Chandrashekhar (2001-02), Sunil Gavaskar (2002-03) and Kapil Dev (2003-04).
The Junior Cricketer of the Year award was won by India's teenage leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, while Jhulan Goswami, the Indian women's cricket team's fast bowler, was conferred the Castrol Special Award for a consistent showing last season.