Malolan gears up for a new spell at Uttarakhand

Tamil Nadu bowling all-rounder Malolan Rangarajan has signed up for a fresh spell at Uttarakhand for the upcoming domestic season.

As an all-rounder, Malolan says that he will have a lot of responsibilities in the Uttarakhand side, which will finally feature in the Ranji Trophy.   -  V. Ganesan

Tamil Nadu bowling all-rounder Malolan Rangarajan has signed up for a fresh spell at Uttarakhand for the upcoming domestic season. The decision comes as a consequence of him hardly getting enough time on the field over the last two seasons.

Malolan, who took to Twitter on Wednesday to announce his decision said, “A lot of factors came into play. Ravichandran Ashwin, when he came back from national duty… The emergence of Washington (Sundar)… At the end of the day, it used to turn out that my cricketing opportunities did not depend on my performances but their availability. This is not the age for me to be sitting out.”

The 29-year-old says that he has been considering a switch since the 2016-17 domestic season itself but then ultimately decided against it. “I thought of pushing things a bit further to see how things shape out. One more year provided enough clarity to finalise the decision,” he said.

Puducherry is another team which, like Uttarakhand, has been included in the Plate Division by the BCCI amid many controversies this year. When asked whether he tried switching to Puducherry before this, it being closer to his home, Malolan does not deny. “I did try playing for Puducherry but they already had their own set of professionals picked out,” he accepts.

As an all-rounder, Malolan says that he will have a lot of responsibilities in the Uttarakhand side, which will finally feature in the Ranji Trophy, ending an 18-year wait.  “I have played for a team like Tamil Nadu which had qualified for the finals twice in the last seven years. I am pretty sure I will be able to bring positivity and a culture of winning games into the side. I will have a responsibility of seeing that the side does good and makes it to the knockouts, also enjoying the game all the while,” he said.

Rajat Bhatia and Vineet Saxena are the other two players who will be part of the Uttarakhand side in the upcoming season. Bhatia would also be captaining the new side. “Both are extraordinarily talented and experienced players who would add value to the team. They would be setting a beautiful example for the youngsters,” Malolan said.

“The fact that Rajat and Vineet are in the squad ups my game too. The beauty of the game is that Rajat has played for Delhi while Vineet has played for Rajasthan so both can present ideas from their sides of the game. They can speak about the mentality they had while playing for their respective sides,” Malolan added.

An off-spinner and an attacking batsman down the order, Malolan has 119 wickets and 1251 runs to show for in 38 First Class matches. “This season, I would be looking forward to concentrating more on my batting as well,” Malolan said.

Malolan is all set to join a team that is starting from the scratch. Does that bother him? “I saw it as a challenge to me more than an opportunity. It is going to be difficult but that made me eager to take it up all the more,” he signed off.