Spinner Lalith Mohan's rich haul in recent matches not only paved his return to team Hyderabad, but made good the faith reposed in him
The success story of left-arm spinner Akkaraju Lalith Mohan can well be a perfect example of how a cricketer, who was snubbed by a serious error of judgement by on-field umpiring and even called for suspect action, can fight back - if only he has the tenacity, grit and most importantly, the class in him.
In a way, 21-year-old Lalith's showing is also a reminder of how many umpires faltered in the 2009 season in their over-anxiety to implement the new rule for suspect bowling action. It may be recalled that Lalith Mohan was removed from the bowling attack during a Ranji Trophy game against Orissa at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in the city in November 2009.
Ironically, the coach of the team was one of India's best left-arm spinners S. L. Venkatapathi Raju. Not surprisingly, he was shocked then but had to “respect” that decision and also refrain from speaking in public against it.
Yet that Raju worked a great deal with Lalith in the nets even after that was proof of the immense faith he had in the young left-arm spinner.
Passion for the sport
For someone who had dared to quit engineering course because of his passion for the sport, it was a terrific fight back to return to Hyderabad cricket. Lalith Mohan forcedhis way in by the sheer weight of his performances in the league, including a couple of seven-wicket hauls.
But what must have really pleased was his equally impressive showing in the Buchi Babu All India invitation tournament in Chennai last week with a six-wicket haul against Tamil Nadu. He played a key role in Hyderabad reaching the semi-final before it was eliminated by the ‘spin of coin' against Kerala after rain abandoned the contest. “He really bowled well and needs to be taken care of,” feels Kanwaljit, Hyderabad coach for the Buchi Babu tournament.
“Yes, it was a very difficult phase when I was in the news for all the wrong reasons. But, I always knew that it is a one-off incident and I can come back,” says the beaming Lalith preparing for the season ahead. “I will not say that I had to change a lot, either in my bowling action or attitude. It was just a question of putting things in the right place,” he said.
“Honestly, I am very grateful to everyone in the Hyderabad Cricket Association including the coaches, especially Raju Sir and Kanwaljit Sir for their unstinted support. They always made me believe that I can bounce back,” says the tweaker.
Interestingly, Lalith is in a similar phase with India star and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha around as was R. Sridhar when Venkatapathi Raju was a regular member of the Ranji squad.
“Frankly I am not thinking on those lines. What I am focussed and very keen on is to prove myself every time I am given a chance,” says the young spinner.
This is the beauty of Lalith's grand comeback.