Senuran Muthusamy has blossomed into a great player at the Dolphins. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
On Thursday, Senuran Muthusamy celebrated his 24th birthday. Unlike most of these annual occasions, however, a fair chunk of his was celebrated in the company of relative strangers. 116 minutes, to be exact.

For just short of two hours, the Dolphins left-hander was in the middle of Benoni’s Willowmoore Park, locking eyes with Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Steve Smith and every other Australian on the field for the warm-up clash between the tourists and South Africa “A”.

“Knowing Sen, he would have been disappointed that it ended on 36,” his franchise coach Grant Morgan said of the knock.

Morgan has watched Muthusamy grow and become a player of stature in the Dolphins’ middle-order. Indeed, he has become the source of calm in some tricky chases and innings resurrections, his steady southpaw style perfectly suited to the role of crisis management.

“You know, we chucked him in all over last season, which wasn’t always ideal. He went from batting at seven, to the top of the order when we had injuries, and then finally settled in the middle order,” Morgan explained.

“I think all those challenges, at such a young age, were not easy. But he got on with the job, and I would like to think it has helped him become the player that we are now seeing.”

Muthusamy’s ascension to the second highest rung in the South African selection ladder has not surprised those who see him at Kingsmead every week. There are few more honest grafters in the team, and those hundreds of hours in the nets have become a mountain of runs in the middle.

“His approach to the game is one of his biggest assets. He works, really hard,” Morgan emphasised.

“In sport, you get very few players who walk into the game as pure talent. Those are your very rare 90% players, guys who can rock up to a rugby game, get the ball and slot a match-winning drop goal like a Frans Steyn,” Morgan elaborated.

“For most of us, it takes a lot of graft to go from being what I would say is a 70% talent, and earning those extra numbers to become a top player.

“Sen is like that, and you can see him adding those digits to his game every season. His approach hasn’t changed at all, and that is pleasing to see.”

At 24, Muthusamy still has plenty of time to fulfil the potential that has got him this far.

At the highest level, as Morgan points out, success is often reliant on being able to come to terms with the esteemed company.

“I think that a large part of his growing importance in the past year has been from him realising that he belongs at this level.

“Knowing that you deserve to be playing where you are is important, and Sen has realised that he is good enough. I will not be surprised at all if he takes it to the next level, too.”

Muthusamy, who also bowls more than handy left-arm spin, was unlucky to be left out of the Dolphins RAM Slam squad, but he took it on the chin. He went back to the amateur side, and grafted even harder on his game, while his team-mates went all the way to the final.

There was no malice, no discontent, but just a firm commitment to himself to make sure that he was ready to take his place in the side when the format changed.

His impact in the Momentum One-Day Cup was immediate, and it was sustained.

He scored three half-centuries, averaging just under 40. But he also helped himself to 13 wickets in a dozen matches, as his influence with the ball continues to grow with every season.

In a world where specialist batsmen are becoming an endangered species, Muthusamy has already ensured that he has an extra feather in his cap.

He works just as eagerly on his bowling, and the Dolphins would be hard pressed to leave him out of any format from this point in.

His batting strike-rate may still be a touch too deliberate in T20 cricket, but the package he brings to the table helps the balance of the team.

He is a key man, and when there is less emphasis on scoring quickly, he is in his element. Some like long walks in the park, but Muthusamy prefers long stays at the crease.

His exploits have earned him the nickname of “Dedda” among his teammates.

The coach, however, has a different name for him.

“I call him Bollywood’s ‘007’, because he quite likes his threads. He likes to look sharp off the field,” Morgan chuckled.

As it turns, Agent Muthusamy is looking sharper and sharper on the field of play, too.

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter