Pratik Mehta: The Man who has touched every verticals of Cricket in Saurashtra
A player, a coach, a selector, when a person manages to stay connected with the game in every which way possible, it shows the passion and love which they possess for the game. Yes, Pratik Mehta is one such name who has spent all his life between those 22 yards. Pratik Mehta started playing cricket at the age of 14 from RYCC Club, Rajkot at a time when the sport of cricket was not that luxurious or accessible in Gujarat. With limited facilities at that time, it was certainly a task to travel all the way daily from his house to his cricket academy in Rajkot.
But as we say, if one has the spirit and commitment to do something, then they can do anything. Such was the case with Pratik Mehta too, after years of hardwork, he soon found himself representing Saurashtra U16 Team in 1991. The journey as a professional cricketer kicked off for him as he represented Saurashtra at U16 level for 3 years while also made it into the elite U16 West Zone team which he represented for one year. From 1994, Pratik Mehta made it into the U19 West Zone team and represented U19 West Zone for 2 years till 1996.
The moment which made entire Gujarat and his entire district proud was when he made it into the India U19 squad which played against Sri Lanka in 1996. Though he did not get a chance to play for India but making it into the squad itself was no less an achievement for a player coming from a small town like Rajkot. Pratik’s tryst with cricket continued further as he made his debut for Saurashtra Senior Team in 1998. November 28, 1998 was the day he represented Saurashtra for the first time in Ranji Trophy vs Karnataka. Pratik went on to play all formats for Saurashtra with a professional career spanning 15 years.
Recalling some of the best moments of his career, Pratik shared winning Vijay Hazare Trophy (Ranji One Days) for Saurashtra was one of my best moments in domestic career. In feb 2020, Rajkot Railway won the Western Railway Cricket Tournament for the first time in history & Pratik remembers scoring 247 runs at an average of 123.00 in that series.
Apart from that, he also recalls scoring a brilliant 94 off 80 balls vs South Africa in a practice match. The memory which he will never forget will certainly be his unbeaten hundred (108*) in a Ranji Trophy Match vs a star studden line up of Mumbai which had the likes of Ajit Agarkar, Iqbal Abdullah, Wasim Jaffer, Ramesh Powar, Rohit Sharma in the same playing XI. Scoring a hundred vs Mumbai in Mumbai vs a team which had a star studded Indian line up, it was certainly a dream come true moment for him.
As a cricketer, Pratik hanged his boots in 2013 and forayed into coaching in the same year. Pratik believed that, passing on the knowledge which he has possessed with years of experience as a player will help the next generation. It was at the age of 38, he took his first coaching assignment with Railways Cricket Academy, Rajkot. Since then, Pratik has also coached Rajkot District U16 & U19 Teams. Pratik’s association with Saurashtra Cricket doesn’t end as a player. In 2019, Pratik was appointed as the Senior Selector of Saurashtra Cricket Association and we all know how challenging a role it can be of being a selector!
Saurashtra team, winners of Ranji Trophy last year have made tremendous progress in the last few years and Pratik shared with Cricketgraph “It feels proud to work and remain associated with a champion team like Saurashtra, I am satisfied and happy for whatever little contribution I can make for Saurashtra, cricket has given me everything and now it’s my time to repay it back in whatever capacity I can”
Click here if you wish to get coached by Pratik Mehta: https://www.cricketgraph.com/coach/pratik-mehta-coach/