SW Exclusive: Prashant Chopra- “I don’t want to be remembered as one season wonder”
Himachal Pradesh has been off to a flying start in this year’s Ranji Trophy season, as they are unbeaten after playing three matches into the season.
The main reason for Himachal’s success is their batting display, particularly their top-order. In their very first match against a star-studded Punjab team in Dharamshala, they posted a mammoth first innings total of 729/8 before declaring.
In their total of 729, opening batsman Prashant Chopra stroked his way to a great triple-ton scoring 338 of just 363 balls. The match, however, ended in a draw, but Himachal took the crucial three points by first innings lead.
In their second encounter of the season against Goa, Himachal’s batsmen showed character again and put on 625 runs for the loss of seven wickets before declaring their innings. Himachal took three points in a drawn game.
Himachal’s first victory came against Services, where they beat the host side comfortably by 97 runs. After missing the previous game against Goa, Prashant started off from where he left against Punjab and marched his way to a half-century, but his innings was cut-short, and in the second innings he didn’t trouble the scorers.
However, Prashant looked sharp in the slips and took some crucial catches to help his team securing the first victory of the season.
We at Sportzwiki managed to have a quick chat with the young Himachal batsmen where he opened up about his explosive start to the season and much more.
When the 25-year old was asked about his maiden triple ton, he said;
“It was a decent knock at the start of the season if you get a score like that it is huge. My last season also went good, so there was this in my mind that I had to perform well this year too. 300 was never on my mind, I just wanted to start off fresh, I got to hundred pretty quickly and was settled at the crease, so I decided that I’m in the zone and unless I make a silly mistake, the bowlers can’t get me out.”
He further mentioned that the team’s coach was also giving his inputs throughout the innings which helped him to stay at the crease and convert that hundred into a humongous one.
“I was having a conversation with the coach that how should I approach my innings and I did that throughout the day and it benefitted me to get to the score that I got.”
Prashant recently got an opportunity to play under the leadership of the legendary Rahul Dravid, when he was picked for India-A for two matches against New Zealand-A. He did not make the most out of this opportunity, but he did speak on the experience of working under the former India captain.
“It wasn’t good for me performance wise but it was a good experience to share the dressing room with someone whom we’ve seen on Television taking on the best of players in the world. I had a chance to talk to him about my game and he gave me some valuable tips on how to pace my innings and how to co-op with the pressure of playing the next level after Ranji Trophy.” Said Chopra.
Prashant was happy to have Rahul Dravid working with him on his game and fine-tuning the minutes of faults in his game.
“I’m blessed that I got an opportunity to work with him.” He added.
Prashant Chopra was also the leading run-getter for India before the finals in the 2012 edition of Under-19 Cricket World Cup, but an unfortunate dismissal in the final ended his journey on the worst possible note (a duck), though team India went onto to lift the trophy after defeating Australia in Australia in the finals.
“There’s always a regret that before that match I was the leading run scorer for India, and I couldn’t contribute to the team in an important game such as a World Cup final, but it wasn’t to be. At the end what matters what that we won the World Cup.”
With the IPL auction around the corner, we asked the right-handed batsman if he is optimistic about getting picked by a franchise after a splendid start to the domestic season, to which he said;
“I’m hoping to get picked but I just want to keep scoring runs, my job is to score runs and those things will come if they’re destined to, if the god has written it for me nothing can stop me from playing the IPL. If I start thinking that I need to play in a way to get into the IPL, than that will not be good and my main aim is to play for the country and firstly I want to win the Ranji Trophy for Himachal Pradesh because no one considers us as contenders to win the tournament and we want to prove that even we can beat the best.”
He further said, “I don’t want to be remembered as a one season wonder and would like to continue my good run so that people can say that he is consistent and he deserves to be there on the ground.”
Speaking on the strike rate change in the last couple of seasons, he said that in Ranji Trophy the bowling attack is completely different from what was there at the under-19 and under-23 level.
“I’ve been a stroke maker from the beginning but initially it was different, as at this level bowlers test your patience and I was playing the waiting game but then my coaches told me to stick to my game and then I decided to play my natural game and it has paid-off. In cricket you’re about to get out and at the end what matters is the number of runs in front of your name.”
At the end when asked about the relationship Rahul Dravid shares with youngsters, the opening batter said that he is like a friend and gives everyone complete freedom to express themselves.
“Rahul Dravid is like a childhood friend in the dressing room; you won’t feel like you’re talking to the wall of Indian cricket, you can talk about anything with him. He will analyze your game on the field, but when off the field he is your best friend.”
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