All of 16, you will be amazed at the levels of maturity Pradosh Ranjan Paul exudes on the pitch wielding a willow and off it with his eloquence when asked to talk about his heroics. Rubbing your eyes and wiggling your ears in disbelief, you will even be tempted to ask him to confirm whether he is indeed 16 as he claims to be.
His career progression has zipped along at an astoundingly rapid pace and this year he was a part of the Tamil Nadu Ranji Trophy preparatory camp at Dehradun. “Just being there in the midst of all the senior players and interacting with coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar was immensely beneficial to me. I was able to learn a lot by observing how the other players went about their practice and fitness drills. Everybody motivated me a lot by their pep talk and gave me valuable tips on having the right temperament while batting in different situations,” recalled Pradosh.
A native of Bhubaneshwar, Pradosh’s family relocated to Tirupur in Tamil Nadu six years ago. A left-handed batsman, Pradosh recently took centre stage with match-winning knocks in both innings against Jharkhand U-19 at Bokaro in the Cooch Behar trophy. Such was his profound impact that he single-handedly reduced a team game to one of individual brilliance as the Jharkhand bowlers threw everything but the kitchen sink in their vain attempt to see the back of him. Impervious to the wickets falling at the other end, Pradosh was as steady as a rock and his confidence grew leaps and bounds as the game wore on. He remained unbeaten in the match with scores of 195 not out in the first innings and an unbeaten 61 in the second.
Interestingly, his 195 matched that of the entire Jharkhand’s team score in the first essay. The team-man in him came to the fore when he said that he was not disappointed in the least about missing out on a double hundred by a whisker. “I’m glad that I was able to contribute to my team’s win. The wicket was slow and assisted the spinners. After getting my eye in, I went for my shots and my strategy paid off. The fire is still raging in me to try and score many more big hundreds,” said the self-confessed fan of Virat Kohli.
Pradosh, who can also double up as a wicketkeeper, will be in Chennai along with his teammates to partake in a training camp under the tutelage of coach Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan from November 28. “Our next match is away against Delhi from December 8. It’s important for me to perform consistently and if I do that, I will stand a good chance of making the cut for the Ranji Trophy team,” added the 16-year-old southpaw.
With his ravenous appetite for runs coupled with fierce determination to succeed, those words may well turn out to be prophetic.