Praveenkumar Sakat Singh
October 02, 1986, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh
Right hand bat
Right arm medium
Praveen Kumar had everything to become a domestic cricket legend: limited pace but ability to swing the ball both ways, persistence to bowl long spells, and an almost intuitive knowledge of how to take wickets on unresponsive Indian wickets. But he took his limited pace and remarkably smart application of that ability to a higher level. He was India's best bowler during a disastrous Test tour of England in 2011 - his name is on the Lord's honours board - and was remarkably miserly in ODI cricket. Among his best achievements is the match-winning spell he bowled against Australia in the final of the 2007-08 CB Series.
Praveen is from the western part of Uttar Pradesh, which produces, what he called, "strong, tough boys." He was in his late teens when local coach Sanjay Rastogi pulled him into mainstream club cricket and by the time he was 19, he had graduated to playing first-class cricket. Playing party to his quick rise was his ability to swing the ball, for which he was called "jaadugar" [magician] back home in Meerut.
In the 2005-06 Ranji Trophy, which was his first season and also UP's championship season, Praveen was easily the player of the year: 41 wickets and 386 runs, four five-fors, one ten-for, and three half-centuries. Whenever UP were in trouble, they could turn to Praveen, and sure enough something would happen. His consistency - 90 wickets in his first two first-class seasons - got him into reckoning for the national side.
Between 2009 and the end of 2010, he was a key element in India's pace battery, with Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra. He could have been a World Cup winner had he not broken down with injury and missed the 2011 tournament. Fitness issues had interfered with his first-class career as well, but he was a regular fixture for UP in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 Ranji seasons and even captained them for four games. Praveen had been part of four IPL teams before he was bought by the new franchise Gujarat Lions in the 2016 auction for INR 3.5 crores.
Praveen is also known for having a bit of a short fuse. He was suspended from the Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2013 for using foul language against a batsman. He'd used profane language against fans in the heat of the moment too - a notable incident being at the nets in Australia in 2012, although he said he was driven to such extents because "that guy was going after Rohit [Sharma] non-stop, mother, sister everything." Praveen has since grown wiser and tries to avoid the problems that "do minute ka gussa" [two minutes of anger] can lead to.
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