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Meet the South African debutant with an Indian connect

Source: PTI
Last updated on: October 02, 2019 23:57 IST

'Our roots are from Chennai. I have still got family in Nagapattinam.'

Senuran Muthusamy

IMAGE: South Africa's batting all-rounder Senuran Muthusamy says he is like 'any other South Indian family'. Photograph: BCCI

Batting all-rounder Senuran Muthusamy realised his dream of playing international cricket for South Africa on Wednesday and could not be happier that his debut is against the country of his origin, India.

Though his family moved to South Africa from Tamil Nadu generations ago, the 25-year-old from Durban is no stranger to India, having toured the country with South Africa 'A' last year.

 

Born and brought up in South Africa, he says his is like "any other South Indian family" back home.

"Our roots are from Chennai. I have still got family in Nagapattinam (about 300 kms from Chennai). Many generations have passed through, but the Indian connect is very much there and our culture is very much Indian," Muthusamy said ahead of the first Test.

"My parents were ecstatic when they found out about my selection (for South Africa) and my debut tour against India makes it even more special."

Talking about his Indian lineage, Muthusamy said: "I do yoga back home in Durban, which has the largest Indian population in South Africa. We visit temples regularly and some of my family even speak Tamil. Unfortunately, I don't, but I am slowly starting to learn the language."

With Keshav Maharaj, another South Africa cricketer of Indian origin, and Dane Piedt certain to feature in the team's playing eleven as the specialist spinners, left-arm spinner Muthusamy was not sure about his selection.

However, the dry conditions in India forced South Africa to rethink their plans and included Muthusamy, who considers himself more of a batsman, as the third specialist spinner.

He has scored 3403 runs in first-class cricket, averaging 32.72, and has 129 wickets to his name, at 28.65.

The tour of India with the 'A' side and a stint at an academy in Bangalore prepared him for the grind in sub-continental conditions.

"You really got to deal with the heat. There is more pressure on the spinners here to win the game and it is about being consistent. It is the other way around back home. We come into play only in the fourth innings," he said.

"I have learnt a lot with the bat as well. Adjusting to the wickets in India where the bounce is a bit lower. You got to deal with reverse swing a lot more. I am sure I can learn lots more during my time here," added Muthusamy, who believes his biggest strength is his wicket-taking ability.

One would expect that he would name a South African or an Indian cricketer as his role model, but Muthusamy has most respect reserved for two famous Sri Lankans, left-arm spinner Rangana Herath and the great Kumar Sangakkara.

"I have really admired Herath and Sangakkara growing up. Sangakkara for just the way he went about his batting, his cricket, his life off the field. He is someone I have always looked up to.

"I look up to others too like Shakib Al Hasan, Moeen Ali, Bishan Bedi, but those two I have enjoyed watching the most," he said.

The ability to take wickets and control run-rate at the same time has been the reason for his success in domestic cricket and he wants to emulate that for South Africa.

"Another thing I would like to do is play more T20 cricket."

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