IPL's 16-year-old 'crorepati' Prayas Barman opens up about carrying his Class 12 books to matches
When most kids his age are either shuttling between schools and tuitions or hanging out with friends, Prayas Barman is playing in the IPL 2019.
Juggling studies and the world’s biggest cricket league is something totally unheard of. Isn’t it? Ask Prayas Ray Barman, the 16-year old from West Bengal who bagged a Rs 1.5 crore contract with the Royal Challengers Bangalore and made his debut against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the ongoing IPL.
When most kids his age are either shuttling between schools and tuitions or hanging out with friends, this teenager is preparing himself to take on the big boys in the league. He impressed at the auctions courtesy his scintillating List A performances in the Vijay Hazare Trophy with 11 wickets from 9 matches at an economy rate of just 4.45. No wonder the youngest IPL debutant is also the youngest IPL millionaire.
In this exclusive, a confident Barman opens up on the IPL experience, his idol Virat Kohli, the IPL experience, and the dream of playing the U-19 World Cup next year.
How does it feel to be IPL’s youngest debutant?
Of course, it’s a great feeling. First of all, when I got into the auction it was a different feeling and after that, everything has changed. Getting into a team like RCB, my favourite team from the first season. Of course, the debut was very good getting the cap from Virat Kohli. It would have been better if the result was in our favour but still, it was a great feeling.
How was your family’s reaction when you were picked in the auction initially?
Well, there were no expectations that I would be getting into some team. When I was picked, they were overwhelmed and very happy. They wanted to celebrate. It was a great feeling with the family.
What did Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers tell you when you were named in the playing eleven?
They just told me that it’s your first game of the IPL so just enjoy the game because this moment won’t come ever again and everything will fall into place.
What was the feeling when you came to bowl your first over in the IPL?
We were not in a great position when I came in to bowl my first over. David Warner and Jonny Bairstow were going great guns. Of course, there was a little bit of pressure but I didn’t feel it that much because the team wanted me to deliver. I just tried to express myself.
You also had your Class 12 exams going alongside the start of the IPL. How did you manage that?
I was just carrying my books and when there was no practice I used to be at my hotel room studying. It wasn’t that easy. It was kind of harsh to study during the rest period. I just had to manage somehow.
Tell us how do you manage the fame and attention you have received at such a young age when you go to college amongst your teenage friends?
I don’t attend college or school that much so whatever it is, it’s just you need to know they are actually your friends and you need to tell them that it’s what was meant to be.
Where do you see yourself after 5 years in cricket?
Well, I am not thinking about the next 5 years, but I am eyeing the U-19 World Cup next year and I am focusing on just that. I am just aiming to be in the team and win the World Cup for the country.
Tell us about the importance of Bengal cricket in you getting noticed at the IPL level
Bengal cricket has a very huge role to play in my career. At such a young age, they gave me the opportunity to represent the senior team, I didn't expect that. Though it was unfortunate that the team didn’t do that well, I am happy I could do decently and maybe that’s why I am here.
Who is your favourite cricketer and why?
Of course, it has to be Virat Kohli. I have been following his game since he made his debut and he’s been a revelation since then. The way he pursues cricket, the fitness he possesses, and his passion and love for the game are just unbelievable. He teaches us all these things. I haven’t seen it before and after meeting him, I have started respecting him even more.
What do you think of India’s chances during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019?
It’s great, I think India is one of the favourites because, under the leadership of Virat Kohli and the experienced MS Dhoni, we have the right mixture of talent. Our batting is also very good, I strongly believe it will be a great tournament for Team India.
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