Prakash Bhagat, who once bowled to Sourav Ganguly, runs fast food stall for survival

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Silchar: Every young budding cricketer aspires to play for India one day, but not everyone’s dream gets fulfilled. Cricket has made careers for some but at the same time, it made an individual lose everything in life without success. Many times life brings such a turning point when players say goodbye to the game despite shining at the domestic level.

One such story is about a left-arm spinner, Prakash Bhagat, from Assam. A former Ranji player, Bhagat was one of the consistent performers during his playing days at the domestic level. He played three Ranji Trophy matches against the likes of Railways, Jammu and Kashmir and Goa in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons. Besides, Ranji trophy, Bhagat was also seen in various national and state-level tournaments.

However, life took a different turn for Bhagat after his father passed away in 2011 and the 34-year-old was left with no other option but to sell tea and fast food at a roadside stall in Assam’s Silchar to make ends meet to manage meals for the survival of his six-member family.

“I had to leave cricket in 2011 after my father (Gajadhar Bhagat) died following a massive cardiac attack at the age of 65. My father and elder brother, Deepak Bhagat, used to sell ‘chaat food’ in a hand-driven cart. After my father’s death, my elder brother also remains ill. After I left playing cricket to support my family, I joined a private mobile company but due to Covid-induced lockdown, I lost my job last year,” Bhagat was quoted as saying to IANS.

Bhagat also revealed that he had taken a month-long training at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru in 2003. Recalling his NCA stint, Bhagat remembered the time when bowled to then India captain Sourav Ganguly. He also met the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh, and Virender Sehwag.

“During my NCA training, I bowled to Sourav Ganguly as the New Zealand-bound Indian team was practicing in the academy. That time, I got a chance to meet Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh, Virender Shewag and Sourav Ganguly,” he added.

Bhagat started his career in 1999 at the Silchar District Sports Association’s U-13 tournament. He played in all-age group tournaments in Assam and continued making an impact before appearing in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. He stated that if the Assam Cricket Association (ACA), or any other organisation, supports him financially in these testing times, he could resume his cricketing career.

“My consistent performances in different lower-level matches helped me find a place in Assam’s Ranji Trophy team. I was in the squad for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy as well. If I get financial support for my family, I am keen to return to the cricket field again. Many of my former teammates got government jobs or financial support from various government and non-government organisations, but I could not obtain one,” he concluded.

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