Guwahati: Prakash Bhagat, once a leading cricketer from Assam who played in different national and state-level tournaments, now runs a food stall in Silchar to support his financially poor family.
The 34-years-old left-arm slow bowler and right-handed batsman now sells ‘dal puri’ at a roadside stall at Itkhola within the Silchar Municipal Board, for the survival of his six-member family.
According to reports, Bhagat once was training at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) with legendary cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, etc.
Talking to News Live Bhagat said that as a member of the Assam team, he had played Ranji Trophy matches in 2009/10 and 2010/11 against the Railways and Jammu and Kashmir teams.
The former cricketer had also taken a month-long training in the Bengaluru-based National Cricket Academy (NCA) in 2003.
“During my NCA training, I bowled to Sourav Ganguly as the New Zealand-bound Indian team was practicing in the academy. That time, I got a chance to meet Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and Virender Shewag ” said Bhagat.
Bhagat had to leave cricket in 2011 after his father died following a cardiac attack.
“My father and elder brother used to sell ‘chaat food’ in a hand-driven cart. After my father’s death, my elder brother also fell ill that’s when I started earning to run my family. Before the lockdown scenario, I was working for a private company but right now I don’t have a job and top support my family I have to sell street food, “said Bhagat.
Bhagat is married and has two small children.
Bhagat said that if the Assam Cricket Association (ACA), or any other organisation, supports him financially, he could resume his cricketing career.
“After I left playing cricket to support my family, I joined a private mobile company but due to Covid-induced lockdown, I lost my job last year,” said Bhagat.
Bhagat’s cricketing career started in 1999 at the Silchar District Sports Association’s Under-13 tournament. He played several tournaments in the Under-16, Under-19 and Under-23 categories at the state and national levels.
“My consistent performances in different lower-level matches helped me find a place in Assam’s Ranji Trophy team. I was in the squad for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy as well,” he added.
“If I get financial support for my family, I am keen to return to the cricket field again. Many of my former teammates got government jobs or financial support from various government and non-government organisations, but I could not obtain one”, added Bhagat.