Venkatesh Prasad Was Comfortable Playing Under Mohammed Azharuddin
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Venkatesh Prasad Was Comfortable Playing Under Mohammed Azharuddin

Mohammad Azharuddin played 99 Tests for India. Twitter
Mohammad Azharuddin played 99 Tests for India. Twitter

Venkatesh Prasad was asked to name the best captain he played under, and the former India fast bowler was forthright in his answer.

Former fast bowler Venkatesh Prasad may have represented India in not more than 33 Tests, but he holds the record for being India’s fifth-highest ODI wicket-taker by a fast bowler. The fast-bowling pair of Venkatesh Prasad and Javagal Srinath was India’s most fabled pace duo in the 1990s, achieving great success together.

Venkatesh PrasadVenkatesh Prasad (Image Credit: PTI)

Venkatesh Prasad Was Comfortable When Mohammed Azharuddin Was Captain

From his debut in 1994 to his last match for India in 2001, Venkatesh Prasad wasn’t exactly in the game for the long haul but remained an important member of the Indian team. He wasn’t express pace but he was able to do what not many India fast bowlers could back in the day – move the ball both ways along with having a tremendous slower ball.

He started his career under the captaincy of Mohammad Azharuddin and finished under Sourav Ganguly while playing under Sachin Tendulkar as well during his two stints as captain of the Indian team. In a chat with The Grade Cricketer Podcast, Venkatesh Prasad was asked to name the best captain he played under, and the former India fast bowler was forthright in his answer.

Venkatesh Prasad played under Mohammad Azharuddin, Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar. (Getty Images)
Venkatesh Prasad played under Mohammad Azharuddin, Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar. (Getty Images)

“I can be very diplomatic here. I can easily say that ‘look, everybody is different in their own way’. But I was always comfortable when Azhar was the captain because he used to just throw the ball at you and would ask what field do you want. And when I set a field, I own the responsibility to bowl to that field, isn’t it? So that’s how it was,” Prasad said on The Grade Cricketer Podcast.

The pacer played under Mohammed Azharuddin from 1994 to 1996, before Sachin Tendulkar was named captain for the first time. The captaincy shifted between Mohammed Azharuddin and Sachin Tendulkar once more, before finally, in the year 2000, Sourav Ganguly was named the new India skipper.

Venkatesh Prasad Knew Mohammed Azharuddin Well As His Best Performances Came When The Hyderabad Man Was Skipper

The pacer clarified that while he did not face any issues under either Sachin Tendulkar or Sourav Ganguly, the rapport with Mohammed Azharuddin was just better due to the history between the two players.

“It wasn’t as if I was not comfortable with Sachin or Ganguly either but I guess my best performances came when Azhar was the captain and that’s how it was. Also, Azhar happens to come from Hyderabad, and Karnataka and Hyderabad aren’t very far so we knew each other very well. We used to play against each other, also together when there were zonal teams. So that’s how the rapport and understanding were much better,” Prasad added.

Indian cricket legends Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar. (PTI Image)
Indian cricket legends Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar. (PTI Image)

Venkatesh Prasad was part of the Mohammed Azharuddin-led side from 1994 to 1996. Mohammed Azharuddin captained India in overall 174 ODI matches and under his leadership, the Asian giants managed to win 90 games.

The pacer recorded 96 dismissals in Test cricket playing 33 Tests while he scalped 196 ODI wickets in his international career playing 161 ODIs. He debuted in 1994 and was dropped from the Indian team after the 2001 test series in Sri Lanka as he struggled with injuries and dipping form towards the end of his career.

Mohammed Azharuddin’s international playing career came to an end when he was found to be involved in a match-fixing scandal in 2000 and subsequently banned by the BCCI for life. In 2012, the Andhra Pradesh High Court declared the life ban illegal.