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Women's Cricket

When Erapalli Prasanna drove a school girls' team to their match in 1970s

"The situation for women's cricket was not great in 1970s, but there were a few like Prasanna who were willing to help out," Melissa Arulappan says to The Bridge.

Erapalli Prasanna

Erapalli Prasanna (Source: FirstPost)


Abhijit Nair

Updated: 18 May 2022 9:05 AM GMT

Erapalli Prasanna is widely regarded as one of the greatest spinners produced by Indian cricket. The now 81-year-old was a vital cog in India's famous spin quartet in the 1960s and 70s.

A traditional off-spinner, EAS Prasanna made his international debut in 1961 and scalped a whopping 189 test wickets in just 49 matches before hanging in boots.

While Prasanna's on-field exploits are well documented, did you know that the former Indian cricketer once helped a junior girls cricket team reach the ground on time by driving them to their destination?

Yes, you read it right. The fact that this episode took place in the 1970s after he had attained all the stardom makes it even more special.

How did it pan out?

It so happened that the spin wizard went to drop his daughter at her school one fine day in his car in Bangalore. After he dropped his daughter to school, Prasanna came to know that the school's girls cricket team had a match that day, but half the team had no means to reach the ground while the other half had already departed.

Remember, owning a car in India was still rare those days.

The Indian cricketer then took it upon himself to drive the young girls to their destination.

"Once we did not have any means of transportation available to reach the ground for our match. We saw one gentleman come to drop his daughter in our school and asked him for help. He readily agreed and dropped us at our destination. That man who helped us reach the ground was none other than Erapalli Prasanna," said Melissa Arulappan, a former national junior cricketer to The Bridge.

"Yes, the situation for women's cricket was not great in India back then. But, we did have a few people like Prasanna who were willing to help out," reflects the now 50-year-old Arulappan.

Melissa Arulappan was a part of the Karnataka junior girls' team which clinched the national title beating Kerala in the final in 1976. A young Melissa, however, was forced to leave the sport soon after as she spoke to the media about how the team did not receive the cash award they were promised after being crowned the national champion.

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