In the beautiful landscape of Himachal Pradesh lies the quaint and lovely town of Solan. This is where the young new recruit of Rajasthan Royals and the prolific scorer for Himachal Pradesh, Prashant Chopra, was born. At a very close distance from Solan, is the highest cricket ground in the world in Chail. This ground was established by Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala in 1893 and several International and domestic selection matches were played there. However, the nearby town of Solan did not have adequate cricket facilities for a young and determined Himachali. Playing on a cement wicket, under the astute guidance of his father, a (Sports Authority of India) SAI cricket coach even today, he honed his skills as a school boy. His inspiration was no other than the idol of millions of cricket fans during that time, Sachin Tendulkar. He was, therefore, adamant that his pursuit in life would be to emulate him. Prashant’s resemblance to the master blaster can be seen in the way he holds the bat at the bottom while batting and relishes punching the ball off the back foot and on the rise. At the young age of 6, his passion for the game was such that his father had to modify a Kashmir willow bat to make it suitable for him to play with, after the seniors had finished their practice. There was no respite from his father, as he insisted that his enthusiastic son had to face a normal cricket ball. This did not deter the youngster, who even at that age showed his natural ability and ball sense.
This was quite understandable, as Prashant’s mother was also a sportswoman. She played Volleyball and is also presently a coach with SAI for Volleyball. His development as a cricketer revolved around his parents fitness and mental regime and their unending support in continuing his passion and dream of playing cricket for the country.
Fortunately for Prashant, his parents were transferred to Delhi and thereafter to Chandigarh. His school in Delhi, Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, was just the institution for him to flourish in. The school boasts of several 1st class and Test cricketers and under the guidance of a former Indian player, Vivek Razdan, he shone as a rising star.
Prashant’s performance in the Cooch Bihar trophy in 2010-11 was exceptionally good and with consistent scores at the junior and at the District level for Himachal Pradesh, he was part of the U-19 World Cup winning Indian side in 2012 in Australia. On his return, his batting performance at the World Cup ensured him a place in the Himachal Pradesh Ranji Trophy side. Since then, he has not looked back and is now the leading batsman for them. His most fruitful season was in 2017 in which he scored 978 runs in the Ranji Trophy. The highlight of it was scoring the highest individual score of 338 runs for Himachal Pradesh in a match against Punjab. He gave himself a fitting present by making a triple century on his 25th birthday. A birthday feat that very few have accomplished before.
Prashant has always been a self-motivated individual as regards to his cricket and his personal life. He has a health and fitness program chalked out for himself and the only food his greed succumbs to, is his mother’s,” Rajma with Chawal” (Red kidney beans curry with rice).
The hilly terrain of Dharamshala and the modern facilities at the cricket centre is where he trains to enhance his fitness and cricketing skills. The town is the residence of the Dalai Lama and the peace and tranquility of the surroundings and his holiness’s influence on it, must be the reason that makes Prashant an accomplished calm and collective opening batsman, with an abundance of patience and perseverance.
He loves listening to soothing Indian music from the 80’s and the 90’s and the phrase, “if music is the food of life, play on”, suits him perfectly as he feels most relaxed while listening to his favourite songs. This is his ideal way to calm his nerves.
Prashant has graduated with an Arts degree and is presently working for the Comptroller and Audit General (CAG). The only audit he seems to be concerned about at present is accumulating runs, as he realises the importance of getting them in abundance to be noticed by the Indian selectors and influencers.
Playing for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL has brought in a new excitement in his life. He is looking forward to interacting with Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Ajinkya Rahane and all his senior and junior teammates. An articulate and confident individual he will certainly learn a lot from them as well as from the batting coach Amol Muzumdar, with whom he has played in the domestic circuit and has watched Amol get a double century against Himachal Pradesh.
RR has been a lucky team for youngsters to get recognition and to thereafter play for their country. Prashant is one of the bright young stars and prospects for Indian cricket who has proved himself by scoring plenty of runs in the domestic cricket. A successful IPL 2018 will make him a strong contender for the India cap. Solan district had a famous iconic whisky brand called “Solan No 1”. A smooth golden liquid which was savoured and enjoyed by the world. They now have the silken batting touch of Prashant Chopra who is aspiring to be the No1 as well.
About the author:
Yajurvindra Singh is a former cricketer who represented India between 1977 and 1979. He enjoys the unique distinction of achieving 2 world records – 5 catches in an innings, and 7 catches in a match - on his debut.
Disclaimer: Please note that the views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Rajasthan Royals or its management.