The Indian spin quartet of the 1960s and 1970s is spoken about in tones of awe even today. Erapalli Anantharao Srinivas Prasanna was an indisputable part of the spin attack that had batsmen across the world in its thrall.
His Early Days
E A S Prasanna was born on May 22, 1940 in Bangalore, Karnataka. In spite of his success he had a rather checkered cricketing career. He made his debut in the Indian cricket team in 1961. His first international appearance was against England in Madras. This was followed by a rather undistinguished performance during the overseas West Indies tour.
Disappointed over his performance, E A S Prasanna decided to take a break from cricket in order to complete his education. He returned to Mysore to complete his degree in engineering from the National Institute of Engineering, Mysore.
He returned to the cricket field after getting his degree in 1967. This time, he did get greater success and was soon a regular member of the Indian cricket team. Over the years, he polished his right arm off breaks to beguile batsmen. Described as a thinker, E A S Prasanna seemed adept at outthinking hapless batsmen.
His Contribution to Indian Cricket
E A S Prasanna retired in 1978. He had played in 49 Test matches and had a haul of 189 wickets. His best match figures were 11 for 140 runs. In the late 1960’s E A S Prasanna had the complete confidence of his captain Pataudi and spun out several outstanding performances for the country.
But his career was hit by cricket politics and he soon fell out of favor with the selectors. His final tour was to Pakistan in 1978 – a tour so disastrous that it sounded the death knell for India’s famed spinners including Prasanna, B S Bedi and B S Chandrashekhar.
E A S Prasanna also played a very active role in domestic cricket despite his international commitments. He has twice led his home team Karnataka to victory in the Ranji Trophy. The cricketer was awarded the Padma Shri in 1970.
His Life After Retirement
After retiring from Test cricket, E A S Prasanna went back to his profession as an engineer. But he has kept his links with cricket alive by regularly writing columns for various publications. He also signed up as a match referee for the ill-fated T-20 ICL league, but soon gave up the assignment.