Prashant Karia is one of the rare gems who has represented the same club for more than 25 years! These days, players are happy to jump ship but Karia emulates the word “Loyalty”. Karia has been playing Kanga League for 31 years and made his debut in 1992.
The then 16 year old Prashant Karia bagged an impressive 4 wicket haul on his debut. Back then, he was known for his fast bowling. After a breakthrough year in 1992, he got an unreal opportunity to be a net bowler for the 1993 Hero Cup. He bowled to the South Africans and mighty West Indies. Against the likes of Brian Lara, he was given a platform to showcase his skills.
The upcoming star was hit by an unfortunate injury. In the 1994/95 season, Karia had to endure a career threatening stress factures in his leg. This meant an indefinite break from cricket. In the 96′ season, Prashant made his comeback but his pace had reduced significantly due to the injury. This hampered his future goal to represent Mumbai.
Karia had joined the Ghatkopar Jolly Gymkhana as a member in 95′ and started playing for their cricket team in 1997. Ghatkopar Jolly was a team competing in the knockouts, dreaming of playing top division Kanga League Initially, the lack of cricketing cultured curtailed any sort of development. After watching the commitment and determination of Prashant, they handed him the captaincy two years later.
Since 1999, Prashant brought about changes in the structure. Getting better cricketers, purposeful practice sessions and building a team were on top of his list. With the intentions to promote the team in upper divisions, Karia set a trend. In 2007 they reached in the finals for the first time but unfortunately lost. The next year they had a chance again but failed. Finally in 2009, they won in their third consecutive finale appearance. It took him 10 years to build a championship winning team but the wait was worth it!
After 10 years of hard work and determination, Ghatkopar Jolly Gymkhana finally won the Kanga Knockouts and were promoted to G Division. Since 2009, Ghatkopar Jolly Gymkhana and Karia were on a roll winning the G division in 2009, F Division in 2010, E Division in 2011 and D Division in 2012. Since 2013, Ghatkopar Jolly Gymkhana is competing in C Division and hoping to reach the top division.
After achieving as much as he could as a player and a captain, he groomed young players around him. By the end of season in 2016, Karia gave up the captaincy role but still continues to play for Ghatkopar Jolly till this day.
When asked about this, he replied “Definitely as a player but even as a person I’ve grown. Starting so young at a club with a dream and coming close to it is something I cherish. This has been a journey of a lifetime.”
Captaincy wasn’t the only role he had, currently he is in the Managing Committee and The Sports Coordinator of the club. Apart from this, he has started his coaching career as well to guide youngsters.
On the 28th of August 2022, Karia scored a tough 64 off 180 balls batting for more than 2 hours. 31 years at the same club along with the same hunger.