Former Indian left-arm pacer Irfan Pathan believes T Natarajan has a lot to do for sustained success in the longest format of the game. The 29-year-old has had a fabulous start to life as a Test bowler but needs improvements in red-ball cricket.
The pacer from Salem picked up two wickets on his ODI debut and six wickets in the three-match T20I series Down Under.
From being just a net bowler, T Natarajan created history by becoming the first Indian player to debut in all three formats on the same tour when he replaced Jasprit Bumrah in the fourth Test at the Gabba. The left-armer impressed with the red ball too, picking up three wickets to help the visitors win the Test.
The stuff dreams are made of. A perfect treble for @Natarajan_91 as he is presented with #TeamIndia‘s Test 🧢 No. 300. It can’t get any better! Natu is now an all-format player. #AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/cLYVBMGfFM
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 14, 2021
However, during his visit to an exhibition match at the CC&FC ground, Irfan Pathan observed that T Natarajan could become a better Test bowler.
“He (T Natarajan) has to do a lot in Tests, work on his angle and rhythm. The good thing about him is that he has got repetitive action. But he will need to bring his body more behind his delivery at the time of release, as that will help him bring the ball into a batsman,” Irfan Pathan said.
A left-armer himself, Irfan Pathan knows that the angle of a left-armer’s delivery can be disconcerting for right-hand batsman. He said in this regard:
“I always say that left is right. A left-arm bowler is an added advantage for any team, as he brings variation in your attack creating a different angle for the batsmen.”
Irfan Pathan also stressed about the importance of fitness for a fast bowler in Test cricket. He believes that if T Natarajan wishes to have a long career international career, the 29-year-old would have to work on his fitness.
The 36-year-old feels T Natarajan should stick to his basics but should also be open to learning variations and adding new tricks up his sleeve. He is hopeful that the team management would help T Natarajan become a better bowler in international cricket.
“His (T Natarajan’s) initial aim should now be on playing for the country for the next five-seven years, and for that he must focus on his fitness. He should continue doing what he has in his armour and slowly learn more while playing. I am sure the team management will also work with him to make him a better product,” Irfan Pathan said.
The last couple of months have been surreal. My time with #TeamIndia has been the best of my life. Playing Test cricket for India was a dream. We have overcome many hurdles on this tour to win this series. Overwhelmed with your support.🙏🇮🇳 #TeamIndia pic.twitter.com/0n41k8j5h6
— Natarajan (@Natarajan_91) January 19, 2021
Though he played only one Test, T Natarajan played his part in the Indian team’s victorious 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy campaign against all odds.
Although he has not been named in the Indian squad for the first two Tests against England, the 29-year-old could have a role to play in the limited-overs leg.
Especially with the T20 World Cup to be played in a few months’ time, T Natarajan has a busy year ahead and has no time to rest on his laurels.