During the course of the Toyota University Cricket Championship, players will be labelled the 'next-big thing' on a regular basis. For Prashant Mawai, a representative of Jiwaji University in Gwalior, the term epitomizes his physicality along with his spirit.
Rather reminiscent of Jacques Kallis, Prashant too is an all-rounder by trade. Well equipped with both bat and ball, Mawai has been playing gully cricket since the age of seven. At the persuasion of his uncle, who he speaks of with utmost reverence, Prashant graduated from dusty streets to the whites of Jiwaji University.
A rather unnerving yet commendable quality in Prashant is his brutal honesty. During his adolescent years, he admits to being rather overweight, which factored his inability to get selected in any team for a few years. Prashant dusted himself down, trained hard and long, and is now the 'lifeline' of his University. In a complete U-turn from his previous ways, Prashant's sole mantra is hard work.
Prashant credits all to his uncle, Mukesh Mawai, who dragged him out of his lethargy onto the cricket field. He hasn't looked back since.
"My uncle wanted me to play serious cricket but I was overweight and wouldn't get selected. It was an insult for me not to get selected in front of my family members. This made me more determined," said Prashant, adding: "UCC is a great opportunity that I can't let go."
Mukesh feels the moment has arrived for his nephew. "I saw him bat once in a game against Gwalior at Morena Stadium. He was hitting the ball well and struck six or seven sixes in an unbeaten knock of 95. Immediately I knew he had the conviction to go all the way," said Mukesh.
A strong man to say the least, Prashant has gone from strength to strength. The Toyota University Cricket Championship, which begins on February 23, is the ideal platform for this budding all-rounder to showcase his skills. Described by his teammates as 'quite a character', Prashant has all the attributes to succeed, on and off the field.