From outcast to Tamil Nadu hero: the inspiring story of Yomahesh
It is never easy to make a comeback from a career-threatening injury, but Yomahesh has done exactly that. There is something about him that makes you believe that this 29-year-old is here to stay.
And just as he walks in to speak to the press following the third day of play between Mumbai and Tamil Nadu, he is the epitome of calmness. For someone back in the state side after a gap of four long years, this game against arch-rivals Mumbai is so critical.
Life has not been easy for the right-arm medium pacer as injuries crippled most of his career but today, he looks extremely fit and raring to go.
"I had a cartilage tear in both my knees. I went to London. For one and a half years, I didn't know what exactly the problem was. So, I decided to go to London to meet Andy Willams. He’s an orthopaedic surgeon. It was a big decision in that I had to utilise my savings to go for the operation. But obviously, cricket is my bread and butter, so I thought I had to give myself a chance to get back to what I like doing the most," he said.
It is never easy for a fast bowler to comeback after a terrible knee injury especially due to the workload at the highest level. However, after being out of action for a long time, he has slowly crawled his back, playing a lot of league matches back in Chennai and also the Tamil Nadu Premier League.
"It took me one and a half years to identify precisely what the injury was. I went all over India but didn’t get any answers. And then, once I went to London, it took me two years. After surgery, the doctor said it was going to take a year for me to actually get back to cricket. For a fast bowler to find that rhythm, get that match fitness, it takes at least a year. So that’s why I took one more year, played a lot of matches, and that’s why I’m here."
The vital first session of the day
While the visiting outfit were comfortably placed at 239 runs for the loss of five wickets, the 41-time champions bounced back with the help of consistent line and length to trouble the opposition batsmen.
With the crucial wickets of Ravichandran Ashwin and N Jagadeesan in the first hour of play, the match slowly but steadily started to tilt in favour of the home team.
And in walked Yomahesh with 87 runs required for the vital first innings lead. For a player returning to the side, you would expect some nerves, but there was not a single sign of it.
From the moment he took centre stage, he was assured in defence and grinded out the bowlers in the company of Baba Indrajith. However, as soon as Indrajit perished, he shouldered the responsibility and took it all on himself to bail his side out of trouble.
"I was in a similar situation in 2012 when we played Mumbai in the semi-finals. We were somewhere around 100 for five where Prasanna and I stitched a similar sort of partnership. That experience really helped me a lot. Playing safe against the main bowlers, and then deciding who we should attack, who is going to bowl where, was information we shared among ourselves," he said.
Despite missing out for the first two matches, it did not deter him one bit and he vowed to work hard and come back stronger.
"I wasn’t in the probables in the first place. But, I wanted to go to the nets and bowl, I wanted to bowl to good batsmen. It was my initiative, absolutely. I called up Bala bhai, and I wanted to come and bowl. Even he was courteous enough to allow me to come and bowl in the nets. A few injuries were there for the fast bowlers, and I underwent a fitness test in which I did well, and that’s how I got back," he added, reflecting on his comeback into the team.
And let me assure you that he not only made a solid comeback into the setup with a magnificent hundred to take his team to an all-important first innings lead, but also inspired many with his riveting story about life.
The match seems to be heading towards a hard-fought draw with the visiting side finally managing to break the Mumbai jinx.
The only solace for the home team would be the form of Shreyas Iyer as he scored his second half-century of the game, a quickfire 56 runs off 58 balls with three boundaries and five massive hits over the fence.