Happy-Birthday-Praveen-Kumar

Born, October 2, 1986, Praveen Sakat Singh is an Indian seamer who is known for his ability to swing the ball both ways at any kind of pitch. He debuted for the Indian cricket team in 2007, and remained the part of the team till 2012 when injury ruled him out. Praveen Praveen was also selected for the Indian team in ICC Cricket 2011 World Cup but due to an injury, he was ruled out of the tournament.  On his birthday, Abhishek Kumar highlights his career and picks out 14 interesting things.

1.  Economical childhood: Praveen hails from a farming family but his interest was always in cricket. His father was not only a farmer but was also a police constable. His childhood was spent with economic difficulties. During his school days, he used to carry chapatti Praveen’s mother used to console him by saying what she gave is very nutritious and healthy.

 2.  Sold bicycle for shoes: As Praveen grew up with his family facing economic difficulties, he wanted to go for a U-19 trial but for that he needed proper cricket shoes. He wanted to buy a new Puma shoe which was of Rs 3,000. At that time it was quite big amount for his family, but his mother promised that Praveen will get what he wanted.

Praveen was aware of the fact that it won’t be easy for his mother to arrange money, so he sold his bicycle at a sweets shop for Rs 2,000 and he got rest of the money from his mother.

3.  Skipped exams to play cricket: When Praveen was in 10th standard, he skipped exams before the final one just to play cricket. Luckily, Praveen was saved by his brother on that day. “That evening my brother asked me where had I gone. I told him exams. ‘Ok, exams? Where is the question paper? They took it back! ‘Hmm, really, by the way, you hit that six well today’. I knew he had found out and told him sorry sorry bhaiya, don’t tell papa. He only told mummy!,” Praveen recalls the incident.

4.  First impression at domestic level: Praveen came into spotlight for the first time in NKP Salve Challenger Trophy of 2007 by taking nine wickets in the first two matches and conceding only 89 runs. Later on, he was selected for the Indian cricket team and made his debut against Pakistan in 2007.

5.  2007 CB series: After his debut against Pakistan, he was retained for Commonwealth Bank Tri-series in Australia. He played in four matches, in which he took 10 wickets, which included six scalps in the two finals against Australia. His performance in the second final brought Praveen his first Man of the Match award, for taking four crucial wickets including those of  Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke.

6.  Magician: Following his heroic bowling in the Tri-series against Australia, former Indian cricketer Manoj Prabhakar gave him the name of ‘Magician’ for his skills of swinging the ball.

7.  Controversy in Corporate Trophy game: During a Corporate Trophy game in 2013, Praveen was representing Oil and Natural Gas Limited (ONGC) and was involved in abusing Ajitesh Argal, even after getting warned by field umpire. Eventually, the umpires charged him for a breach of Code of Conduct, a found him convicted. Praveen was fined 100 per cent match fees and was suspended from participating Vijay Hazare Trophy matches.

But in March 2013, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) dismissed his suspension and was allowed to play domestic matches.

8.  Mentally unfit: It was the not the first when Praveen was involved in a verbal spat. Praveen had always disciplinary issues both on field and off field. Among them is the street fight in Meerut in 2008 with a doctor, altercation with spectators during India’s tour of West Indies as well as in England in 2011. But after the Corporate Trophy incident, it was stated that Praveen was not in the right mental state to play the game, by match referee Dhananjay Singh in his report.

9.  Supported by Rohit Sharma: During this period, Praveen went to depression, where his friend Rohit Sharma played a key role in getting him out of that situation and fought for him to get a contract for Mumbai Indians in 2014. “Dost hai, mera brother hai. Tamam zindagi nahi bhoolonga (He is my friend, brother. Won’t ever forget his help all my life), said by Praveen in an interview in Indian Express.

10.  Respect for Chanakya: Praveen is a huge follower of great Indian philosopher, teacher, economist and jurist Chanakya. He has a habit using Chanakya’s phrases while talking. One them is during an interview where he said, “Jo dhan ati kast sey prapt ho, dharm ka tyag karne sey prapt ho, shatru ke saamne jhuk ne sey prapt ho, is prakaar ka dhan ko katay apne paas na rakhen.” (The wealth that comes from great difficulty, that comes from shirking your religion, or that comes from bowing down in front of your enemy, never keep that kind of money with you). Chanakya is a legend. I respect him a lot.”

11.  Family: Currently, Praveen is leading a peaceful life with his wife Sapna and a two-year-old daughter Saaya.

12.  Dream: Other than playing for the Indian cricket team, Praveen now desires to become a bowling coach in future.

13.  Biggest disappointment of career: Not playing ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 due to an injury was his biggest disappointment in life. Praveen later on said he would have still played the tournament had he not revealed being injured.

14.  The gold chain: Apart from his bowling and controversial image, Praveen is also known for his wearing a 250 gram gold chain, which is worth Rs 8 lakhs. Last year, he reported that it was stolen from the dressing room of Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur during the Vijay Hazare Trophy match between Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

(Abhishek Kumar is a cricket devotee currently staffing with Criclife.com. He can be followed at abhicricket.kumar and abhishekkr2593)