M. Mohammed was part of the Tamil Nadu (TN) squad in the last two Ranji Trophy matches the team played here at the NPR College grounds, but did not get to play in the eleven.
However, the third time was the charm for the 26-year-old, who hails from this town. The pacer celebrated the occasion in style, taking a crucial hat-trick on the second day against Madhya Pradesh. It allowed TN to come back into the game on Friday.
Speaking after the day’s play, Mohammed said, “It was an important spell for me as well as for the team because they looked good for a huge total. It feels great that I was able to take their best player’s (Rajat Patidar) wicket also as part of the hat-trick.”
Mohammed started as a top-order batsman while playing for his district, before moving to Chennai, where he impressed with his pace bowling in the age-group tournaments. Though he made his debut in 2012, the all-rounder has played only 11 first-class matches and feels this could be the season where he finally cements his place in the side.
‘Momentum on my side’
“My bad luck is that I never got a consistent run in the side. Back then, L. Balaji, Yo Mahesh were there. Then K. Vignesh, Aswin Crist, Natarajan came in and because of [the] team combination, I never got a prolonged place in the eleven.
“Last season, I played two matches and picked seven wickets and had a good Vijay Hazare Trophy. I knew I had the momentum on my side, so to start the Ranji season with a hat-trick really feels nice,” Mohammed said.
Mohammed did not have his family members at the ground on Friday but he was happy to have Dindigul District Cricket Association secretary N. Venkataraman attending the day’s play. Mohammed credits Venkataraman for having spotted him during an Under-16 camp; since then, he has helped find a place for the pacer in a first-division team here, fund his kits, and even take care of travel expenses so he didn’t miss out on his coaching sessions.
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