The average middle class Indian belief is that you should either focus on studies or give up everything to make a career sports (provided you're privileged enough). But we might just have found someone who's breaking this convention.
Prayas Barman, the youngest debutant to appear in the Indian Premier League (IPL) is managing his class 12 Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) board exams while playing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in this year's tournament.
Conceding 56 in his four overs on debut, the Bengal teenager stumbled in his first RCB test along with all his teammates on Sunday. Jonny Bairstow (114) and David Warner (100 not out) stole the show as Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) posted 231 batting first and eventually won the game by 118 runs.
Prayas, who is a commerce student at the Kalyani Public School in Kolkata, appeared for his economics paper a few days ago, and on Sunday made it to the front pages by becoming the youngest IPL debutant at 16 years and 157 days. Earlier, the spot was held by Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb-ur-Rahman at 17 years and 11 days, debuting for Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2018.
RCB play their next game against Rajasthan Royals(RR) on April 2, following which, the 16-year old will again be back in Kolkata for his entrepreneurship exam on April 4. He will again join the team on the eve of the match against Kolkata Knight Riders(KKR) on April 5.
“It's tough but he is managing it. He has the full support of the team,” Prayas father Dr Kaushik Ray Barman told PTI.
“[Virat] Kohli, AB [de Villiers] and [coach Gary] Kirsten are obviously encouraging him at the nets. Obviously they have seen some potential in him to pick him ahead of experienced duo of [Pawan] Negi and Washington Sundar.”
His selection was a total surprise for the young lad. The team's think-tank had decided to go for a seam-attack first, but skipper Kohli informed Prayas of his debut just minutes before going for the toss, his father revealed.
“We were shocked to see his name in the line-up in RCB's very third match. But he was not nervous,” his dad exclaimed.
“He told me 'this was not my standard. I could have done better,' I told him not to lose heart and keep his focus. This is just the beginning for him. First, he has to cement his place in Bengal then look beyond.”
Prayas gave six runs in his maiden IPL over against the likes of Warner and Bairstow, but things went haywire after that.
The senior Barman said Prayas had a finger bruise that affected him in Sunday's match.
“He was not nervous. He told me the first over was okay but his finger got a bruise in the second over with the seam of the ball and he started bowling over pitch,” he said.
With many games ahead in the season, it will be interesting to see how the young leggie can help RCB to end their win drought.
What are your expectations from him? Let us know in the comments.