He made this disclosure while responding to a viewer question during an interaction on the Sony Sports network.
Virender Sehwag was asked how excited he is to see a left-arm seamer in the form of T Natarajan playing for the Indian team after a long time.
The former KXIP mentor responded that he is elated, and revealed that there were doubts raised when he picked the rookie pacer for the franchise. T Natarajan was picked in the Kings XI Punjab squad in 2017 based on his excellent performances in the TNPL.
“I was very happy because when I had picked Natarajan in the IPL for the Kings XI Punjab, everyone was asking questions that this player has come who has not even played domestic cricket and came after playing just the TNPL league, so how he was picked at such a huge price.”
Sehwag recalled that a few Tamil Nadu Ranji players recommended T Natarajan’s name because of his ability to deliver the ball in the blockhole at the death.
“I was not bothered about the money but there is a talent. We had a few Tamil Nadu players in our team at the time who told me that he is a very good player who bowls very well in the slog overs and delivers a perfect yorker.”
The destructive opener added that he picked T Natarajan after watching some of his videos while lamenting that the latter could not play the entire season because of injury issues.
“I saw his videos and then decided that we will surely take him at the auction because we did not have a death bowler. Unfortunately that year, he had an injury to the elbow or the knee because of which he could not play too many matches. But we won only the matches that he played in and lost all the other matches.”
Virender Sehwag mentioned that he was excited to see T Natarajan being given a chance in the third ODI against Australia. He admitted that he expected the 29-year-old to be blooded only in the T20I series.
“So I was very excited to see that he was getting an opportunity although I was thinking that he would be given a chance in the T20Is but it was a surprise for me that he was played in the ODIs.”
Sehwag signed off by expressing hope that T Natarajan continues to perform well and secures a permanent spot in the Indian team.
“But whatever happened was good. All the best to T Natarajan. I hope that he keeps on doing well from here and makes his place in the Indian team.”
T Natarajan was originally picked in the Indian T20I squad for the tour to Australia based on his excellent performances for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2020. He was subsequently drafted into the ODI team as a cover for Navdeep Saini, who had a sore back.
The Tamil Nadu left-arm pacer was handed his India debut in the final ODI against Australia. He gave a decent account of himself, finishing with figures of 2/70 from his ten overs.
Back in my hotel room and contemplating the magnitude of what a young man from Chinnappampatti achieved today. @Natarajan_91‘s debut shows us that Indian cricket is a meritocracy. And may it always be that way.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) December 2, 2020