MINOR LEAGUE CRICKET
[Photo credit: MLC] Breaking free from the shadow of his most illustrious colleagues, Suri has managed to carve out a place for himself this season © Cricbuzz
Pranay Suri, 29, admits he was impressed sharing the Silicon Valley Strikers locker room with former internationals Narsingh Deonarine and Shehan Jayasuriya. “You see a cricketer who has played a certain level of cricket, you think you can match them. I think these guys are of a different caliber, suffice it to say they are capable of something that I am not!” said a modest Suri praising his teammates.
Indeed, Deonarine, Jayasuriya and Unmukt Chand were the pivots around which the Strikers won silverware in 2021 and continued to be at the forefront of the Strikers’ 11-game winning streak this year. While Suri may not be the big cheese in the Strikers locker room, some would say he was an important cog in the Strikers wheel.
Suri flew under the radar much of the previous minor league season. With all eyes on the big players throughout the campaign, his 16 wickets in 19 games were never going to be good enough to make headlines. However, it remained powerful with an economy of less than 6 rpo. He thrived on the big stage with a pivotal 2-for-18 spell on his 4 overs as the Strikers limited the New Jersey Stallions to an under-par total on Finals day.
Breaking free from the shadow of his most illustrious colleagues, Suri has managed to carve out a place for himself this season. He wreaked havoc with a 6-iron against the Golden State Grizzlies, getting the better of pedigree internationals like Sami Aslam and heavy hitter Hammad Azam. He celebrated the six-iron with another fife in the game against the Seattle Thunderbolts, helping his team pocket a victory in the jaws of defeat, defending a measly 130.
He now has 18 wickets in his 36 overs at just over 13 runs a play. He further embellished this season with valuable cameos with the bat, hitting a boundary every 6 inbound balls over the last half of innings. His breezy 34 on a raging turner when their best starry order was back in the hut showed a tactful head and ice he has on his shoulders.
Suri’s elevation in the batting order is the result of a stellar run with the bat following the end of the 2021 MiLC season. His exploits include a double-hundred in Dallas in a 40-over game and an explosive 90-for-50 in an NCCA league game against an East Bay Blazers offense.
“Growing up I was a below average cricketer who had to persevere a lot to be able to do things that I can do right now on a cricket pitch. I never got handed things easily. I don’t I’m still not happy with the feedback I’ve had with the bat this season in the MiLC, I want to do a lot better,” Suri said.
Suri comes from a family of cricket maniacs. His father was a famous cricketer in Hyderabad, while his maternal uncle, Rohan Chandran, is one of the co-founders of Cricinfo, which he helped develop at the start of his freshman year at the famed Stanford University. At age 12, Pranay and a few other children joined Prem and Rohan to form a Stanford second 11 cricket club primarily for blood cricket in Pranay and his brother Vinay. Little did Rohan and Prem know that the kids they played with in NCCA Division C were going to win 3 Division A titles for Stanford, 2 under Pranay’s captaincy.
“Winning the NCCA was a dream we saw together as kids. We went to college in the Los Angeles area, 400 miles from the Bay Area,” said Arsh Buch, his friend from childhood and teammate at Strikers and Stanford. “We had no social life in college.
We’d be a long way from playing games for Stanford on the weekends. Play games in the Bay Area and come back to LA on Monday. Something we did and he did more throughout the cricket season during college days,” Buch added. Stanford won titles in 2018 and 2019 under Suri’s reign. He showed the example in the 2019 season, with an MVP award to sweeten the deal.Perseverance is truly his forte.
According to team manager Jayanth, Suri was a bridge that unified homegrown American talent with the many professional players the Strikers boast on their roster. He feels that Suri sympathizes with the team’s fans who are bound to rise in class and embrace the culture of professionalism that the stars of the team try to instill. If Unmukt Chand, with all its gravity, is the life of the team, Suri is the cornerstone that keeps the Strikers juggernaut going.