International student bolsters University cricket team

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11 March; Matt Roseby

International Student-athlete Janak Prakash has made an immediate impact on the University Cricket community after the removal of travel restrictions allowed him to undertake his third-year Bachelor of Commerce studies in person.

Janak has found a place in Melbourne University Cricket Club's (MUCC) First XI squad, and is shaping up as a key factor in the team's finals aspirations. On the weekend he claimed his best bowling figures of 4/33 and useful late innings runs to help MUCC defeat Northcote with a bonus point, keeping finals hopes alive ahead of the final round of the season.

As a member of Singapore’s national Cricket team, the third-year student aims to help his home country secure a place in the 2022 T20 Men's World Cup later this year. He will compete in the Group B World Cup Qualifiers, taking place in Zimbabwe throughout July.

Having represented Singapore since 2015, Janak is confident in his team’s ability to redeem a gut-wrenching 2021 ODI World Cup campaign that saw them narrowly miss out on entry to the tournament. The all-rounder is hoping Singapore’s current 20th global ranking is indication of the team’s readiness to propel the country’s program to the next level.

“Over the next few years, I hope Singapore will become a regular face in international cricket, and I can contribute towards getting us to that stage”.

Janak was eager to get back on the pitch earlier this year after Singapore’s and Melbourne’s lockdowns halted much of his training. However, the coronavirus pandemic wasn’t the first time Janak has had to redefine how he trains; born in Singapore, Janak was required to complete two years of National Service, enlisting in the army between 2018 and 2020.

Having completed his National Service and persevered two years of lockdowns in the past four years, 2022 has offered a welcome sense of normality and allowed Janak to dedicate much more of his time to athletic and academic pursuits.

While this balance can be tough in itself, Janak has benefitted from the support of the University of Melbourne’s Elite Athlete Program. Explaining how balancing studies with high level sport can be incredibly challenging, the cricketer shared his excitement at the prospect of improving both his game and grades simultaneously.

“I think programs such as the EAP are vital in ensuring that student-athletes do not have to make the heartbreaking decisions of leaving the sport they love”.

Janak will also be competing for the University next week, as the 2022 representative sport calendar kicks off with Melbourne taking on Monash in a Big Blue T20 game at University Oval on campus.

Spectators are invited to cheer on the team, with free food and prizes for spectators taking place from 4pm on campus.