Exclusive: From "IPL debut" to a matured all-rounder, Prayas Ray Barman aiming to "turn" things back on track with Bengal Pro T20 League

Prayas Ray Barman, the youngest player in IPL history will be playing for Harbour Diamonds in the Bengal Pro T20 League under Manoj Tiwary.

Koushik Biswas
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Exclusive: From IPL debut to a matured all-rounder, Prayas Ray Barman aiming to turn things back on track with Bengal Pro T20 League -
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It was December 18, 2018, when everything changed for 16-year-old Prayas Ray Barman from Bengal. After a fantastic Vijay Hazare Trophy with 11 wickets at just a 4.45 economy rate, Prayas attracted a humongous 1.5 cr bid from RCB in the IPL 2019 auction. 

Not only that, that season, he went on to become the youngest IPL player ever. But, unfortunately, nothing panned out for him as per plan. He came against a red-hot David Warner and Jonny Bairstow and did not feature for RCB again that season. Since then, it has been nearly five years, and Prayas Ray Barman has been searching for a platform to turn things back on track for him.

A few injuries and inconsistent performances threw him out of the senior Bengal team. But Prayas kept doing his "thing" and continued representing Bengal at the U-19 and U-23 levels. However, the leg spinner wants to return to the scheme of things for the Bengal senior team, and the Bengal Pro T20 League 2024 provides the exact opportunity he is looking for.

Before Prayas starts rolling his arm over for Harbour Diamonds, he shared his journey, plans, and everything with Sportz Point.

Exclusive: From "IPL debut" to a matured all-rounder, Prayas Ray Barman aiming to "turn" things back on track with Bengal Pro T20 League -
Prayas Ray Barman in his bowling stride for RCB in his debut match.

Although it has been already five years since that IPL debut, Prayas knows he can never shrug that off and will always be there with him in a good or bad way. For him, it is only the learnings that he wants to carry from that season and match against SRH and apply whenever needed.

"The experince and learnings from the IPL will always stay with me. I was lucky enough to be with some of the biggest names in world cricket, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and others. Those learnings will never become irrelevant," Prayas told Sportz Point.

"At that time, I was a kid and could not understand all those things properly. But, five years later, I am more mature as a cricketer and human being. So, I feel I can use those learnings now and excel in my career," he added.

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The all-rounder Prayas

Prayas knows it is not easier said than done. During Bengal's last game of the Col. C.K. Nayudu Trophy, the Bengal U-23 captain injured his shoulder and has not participated in any professional games since then. 

Since then, Prayas has been going through rigorous rehab and training to become fit. "Yes, I injured my shoulder while fielding in the last U-23 game. But I am fully fit now. I have played practice matches also. It is looking good now," Prayas answered when Sportz Point asked about his injury.

Exclusive: From IPL debut to a matured all-rounder, Prayas Ray Barman aiming to turn things back on track with Bengal Pro T20 League
Prayas after a century for Tapan Memorial Club.

But before getting injured, Prayas had started adding a few things to his game to become more valuable for his team. Though he was always capable with the bat, was looked at as more of a lower middle-order batter. However, from the start of this season, Prayas started opening the batting and found his new "mojo" with the bat in hand.

"All thanks to Tapan Memorial Club for allowing me to bat as an opener. Since I was the captain, I wanted to take more responsibility as a batter. Post that, I opened in the practice matches for Bengal as well."

"Opening the batting helps me use the powerplay first and then play till last to help my team. But, yes, I am ready to bat at any order as per the team's need," the youngster stated. 

Not only in the batting position, Prayas deliberately trying to add the 360-game to his batting so that he can score at any given situation against any bowler.

"You can see in the IPL how teams scored 250s in an inning. So, it's necessary to add things to your game. That's why I look to keep evolving as a batter to score against better bowlers."

"I want to play as the best spinner in the team"

Having said everything Prayas Ray Barman can bring with the bat, leg spin is the art he possesses. In fact, the 21-year-old might be the only leg spinner in the Bengal circuit. However, Prayas does not want to end up playing as a leg spinner just because there are not many leg spinners available in the market.

Prayas Ray Braman -

"There are different perspectives to see this. Many believe leg spinners can bring a different variation to a bowling line up and many believe that they can go for runs since it is a very tough art to master."

"But, I do not want to play in the team just because I am a leg spinner. I want to play as the best spinner in the team if the team is playing a spinner. I am lucky to have Manoj (Tiwary) as the captain of the team, who himself is a very good leg spinner. I am already learning a few tricks from him."

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Talking about Manoj Tiwary, Prayas continued and said. "I am very fortunate to have him as the captain and guide. I have a great relationship with him on and off the field. He guides me in every aspect of life. So, eager to absorb all the knowledge from me during the tournament."

"I want to enjoy my game"

Now just like in 2019, there will be great things expected from him by the Bengal Cricket fans. But this time, Prayas just wants to enjoy his game and not let the pressure get on him. 

"Since last one or two years, I have changed my mindset a bit. I know, in India, for whichever state you play, there will be expectations. So, now I just want to enjoy my game. I keep remembering why I started the game. I started the game because I loved to play the game, be it with my father or anyone else. So, I want to enjoy my game now."

Prayas then added, "Moreover, during the tournament, I will be under a few great coaches like Sanjib Sanyal, Hirak Sengupta and others. So, I know, they will take good care of me and guide me well. Hence, I do not need to take any extra added pressure. I just want to enjoy the game and do whatever they are asking me to do."

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