“More than the newborn, my wife and I were proud that I could play for my country” – T Natarajan

T Natarajan believes the support of his teammates helped him

Indian fast bowler T Natarajan has no regret about missing the birth of his daughter. Instead, he felt proud to represent his country and make an impact in Australia.

The 29-year-old had become a father during the IPL 2020, when he was playing for the Sunrisers Hyderabad. However, due to the strict restrictions of the bio-bubble in the UAE, T Natarajan couldn’t meet his child.

Following the conclusion of the IPL, the left-armer directly travelled with the Indian team Down Under. It was only after the end of the tour last week that Natarajan got to see his newborn daughter for the first time in person.

However, speaking to NDTV Sports, he revealed that playing for the country was always his priority. Natarajan believes his sacrifice bore fruit as Team India won the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

“More than the newborn, my wife and I were proud that I could play for my country. Hard work will never go to waste. It is always rewarding,” T Natarajan said.

Natarajan’s first few months in international cricket have been nothing short of a fairytale. The pacer was only picked as a replacement for the injured Varun Chakravarthy in Team India’s T20I squad for the tour to Australia.

He was later added to the ODI squad and then handed his one-day debut at Canberra, where he picked up a couple of wickets. T Natarajan received a longer rope in the T20I series and was excellent for the visitors, bagging six wickets from three games.

Injury to speedster Jasprit Bumrah ahead of the fourth Test in Brisbane meant that T Natarajan was handed his red-ball debut too. He became the only Indian player so far to have made his debut across all three formats on the same tour.

Natarajan was impressive with the red ball, picking up three wickets as the visitors ended Australia’s 32-year unbeaten streak at the Gabba.

Natarajan revealed that it was not at all easy for him to deliver consistently across all three formats. He thanked his teammates who backed and supported him throughout the tour.

“Other players supported me in the dressing room. Their motivation and support helped me. I was under pressure to perform when the opportunity was offered. My only thought was to take wickets. It was like a dream to take Australian wickets,” T Natarajan said.

After an enthralling tour Down Under that gave both Team India and Natarajan innumerable highs and lows, the 29-year-old has been rested for the first two Tests of India’s next assignment – a home series against England.

This will help him spend some much-needed time with his newborn child.

However, one can expect Natarajan to be back amidst the thick of things in the limited-overs leg of England’s tour, as the build up to the 2021 T20 World Cup in India begins.

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