Meet Santha Moorthy, the 41-year-old Puducherry pacer who wrecked Mumbai

It was a dream come true for the Puducherry pacer Santha Moorthy, who scalped a five-for to stun Mumbai in a Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy fixture on Sunday.

Santha Moorthy, the 41-year old bowler of Puducherry, who took a five-for against Mumbai.   -  Special Arrangement

A couple of decades ago when Santha Moorthy started playing local club cricket in Chennai, the focus was mostly on the one-dayers and the longer format.

Back in those days, T20 cricket was an unheard term and being a fast bowler, Moorthy would work hard to perfect his line and length. Over the years, he played for Madras Cricket Club and a few local outfits - including Swaraj CC - before featuring for Puducherry.

And that’s where he got the opportunity to feature in first-class cricket.

READ: Santha Moorthy takes five in Puducherry's win over Mumbai

On his debut last year, Moorthy scalped a five-for in the second innings against Nagaland and guided his team to an innings and 195-run win. And soon after the Ranji Trophy got over, the country went into a lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There was uncertainty over the domestic season and like most cricketers, even Moorthy did not know what was waiting for him.

But on Sunday, it was a dream come true for the Puducherry pacer as he claimed a five-for to stun Mumbai in a Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy fixture. At the Wankhede Stadium, he conceded just 20 runs and picked five wickets to restrict the star-studded opponent to 94.

While it was an easy win for the young team, it was a momentous feat for Moorthy - who at 41 years and 129 days - set a record for being the oldest bowler ever to take a five-wicket haul in a T20 game.

“It was a dream come true for me to take five wickets against Mumbai, and that too, at the Wankhede Stadium. Not many cricketer gets a chance to play at this iconic venue and this has to be one of the major highlights of my career,” Moorthy told Sportstar.

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In the past, he was part of the Karaikudi Kaalai squad in the Tamil Nadu Premier League and those experiences have actually helped him get used to the format.

While he has been around in the local cricket circuit for two decades now, Moorthy works as a multi-tasking staff (MTS) at the Government Law College in Puducherry and also runs a small sports shop. But he has, so far, managed to strike a balance between his job and cricket.

“I have been playing cricket since the age of 17-18 and I still have that energy and enthusiasm. So, age is not really a factor for me in any format of the game,” he said.

Last year, when he made his debut in the Ranji Trophy, his aim was to bowl in right line and length. He picked seven wickets in the match. “I tried doing the same thing today at the Wankhede. The main aim was to keep it in the right areas, and yes, pitch did help a little. So, I kept things simple and that worked,” he said.

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