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Juggling MBA and cricket, Pratham Singh continues ‘beautiful’ journey

It’s impressive enough that Pratham Singh has secured a GMAT score that’s enabled him to pursue an MBA degree at the Indian School of Business (ISB) in Hyderabad.

What’s even more impressive is that the Railway batter has been balancing that full-time on-campus one-year course and cricket.

“Since it’s an one-year course, that’s why it’s doubly intense. So, we have exams every two weeks. I was training and studying and doing my classes. They don’t give respite for attendance. You have to have 80 per cent attendance. It’s been a very intense ten months, to be honest. I started the course in April. Since then, it’s just non-stop,” he said after Railways’ innings defeat to Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy here on Sunday.

He admits it’s been hard, but his mindset is such that he’s never thought of it as undoable. He’s already done this balancing act during his Engineering days.

“I honestly believe that you have a lot of time during the day. If you utilise it properly, you can study, you can play, and you can also have a social life. I have lived my life in those terms forever.

“It’s all about time management. Even during Engineering, it was the same for me. I used to attend classes, and train six hours a day – two hours in the morning, and then after classes.

“I’m doing the same thing at ISB. After classes, I train; on the weekends, I train; before classes, I train in the morning. So, practice intensity hasn’t come down. I think it’s just that time management has improved and I’m just utilising whatever free time I get.”

His cricket seems uncompromised. The tall left-hand batter played a belligerent knock (92, 94b, 10×4, 4×6) in Railways’ first innings, almost as if he’d to make a dash for his classes.

Asked if he’s always batted like that, he said: “Not usually. I’m trying it from this season because I figured out it’s a bit easier if you take those risks early on to open up the field. Then, it gets easier to rotate the strike. And nowadays, I think the strike rate is very crucial, seeing how cricket is progressing.

“In the second innings, when the situation demanded, I tried to play way more balls. But because there was a total of more than 450 runs (Tamil Nadu had a first-innings score of 489), I think it’s easier to counter-attack to get the opposition on the toes and put pressure on them. So, I think that was the intent.

“It depends on the wicket as well. Usually, the wickets at the Karnail Singh Stadium (in Delhi) are low-bouncy, there you can’t play shots. Down south or the west, the bounce is more, you can play more shots. That’s how it works, at least for me.”

So, what positive impact has doing this MBA course has had on his cricket and life in general?

Pratham Singh of Railways in action against Tamil Nadu.
| Photo Credit:
PERIASAMY M/The Hindu

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Pratham Singh of Railways in action against Tamil Nadu.
| Photo Credit:
PERIASAMY M/The Hindu

“ISB has this diversity thing. Because people come from very diverse backgrounds and have different ideas, you learn and evolve a lot. If you’ve played cricket for 20 years, you’ve just been around athletes. So, your mind opens up. That’s the wonderful thing.

“I’m doing (MBA) in leadership and strategy, and it has also helped me in cricket, to be honest. Because, I’m more confident about my life, and it has helped me manage my time. I’ve learnt how to go about various things.

“Doing the MBA, I realised that what I’m doing is very beautiful. I just love it. Because, I was away from the game for a bit – for a month or two – and I realised how much I love the game! So, it made me love the game even more!

“I think now it has given me better clarity. And I’m also confident because of the education and the knowledge I’m getting there, that I can anytime translate into other fields. Or, even expand something in cricket or sports using that knowledge.”

He does run three cricket academies. “I got into MBA because of these entrepreneurial endeavours I had. And to be honest, I opened the first academy for myself. Because, wherever I used to go to practise in Delhi, I used to get only 10 minutes of batting.

“So, I was lucky that a school nearby gave me their space. I just built the wickets for my own practice, and then I realised that while I was not there, I could give it to someone who runs cricket academies.

“And I also realised that especially up north, most of the coaches are not very professional. Down south, you see a lot of professionalism. So, since I’ve played a lot of cricket, I wanted to give it back to the players there.”

He had planned to play league cricket in Chennai last season but didn’t. He’s planned again to play in Chennai this season. Why does he prefer to play in Chennai?

“I’ve played in Chennai earlier. I’ve played for ICF in the first division. I’ve played a couple of seasons in the second division for one of the teams of India Cements. But this was like five years ago. I’m looking forward to playing this season again in Chennai.

“The quality of cricket (is good), and to be honest, I see how passionate people are about cricket. It’s just way more advanced than in any other part of the country. Especially the red-ball cricket here, the league structure is very advanced, and I think it will improve anyone who comes here.

“The quality of spinners, the quality of fast bowlers… And the money they give professionally as well – I mean, that shows how serious people are for the cricket here (in Chennai). And the lovely part is that there are so many divisions that you bump into anyone, people either play for division five, or division four… So, it’s the culture I like here for playing cricket. I enjoyed that when I was here (in Chennai),” said Pratham, who will lead Railways further in the Ranji Trophy in the absence of Upendra Yadav. who has gotten an India ‘A’ call-up recently.

Source website: sportstar.thehindu.com

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