T. Natarajan’s ability to hit the block-hole at will while generating pace at 140km/ hr in addition to being a left-arm seamer helped him get a berth in India’s ODI and T20 team for Australian tour.
The Tamil Nadu star, who was first picked as a net bowler, and later inducted into the ODI and T20 teams, has now become a star in white ball cricket. He has impressed the Indian team management so much that they could afford to rest India’s leading pacer Jamprit Bumrah ahead of the Test series.
What really worked for Natarajan is his IPL form, which both Shastri and Bharat Arun kept a close watch on throughout the tournament.
There was no plan to bring him into the team after one season of IPL show. They liked him and wanted him as the net bowler. The rest, they say, is history. Natarajan impressed the team management so much and showed such drastic improvement that getting picked for the ODI team was the only logical solution.
Before a fairly decent ODI debut, which India won by 13 runs, the selectors and team management were again at it. They put Natarajan in the T20 team after Delhi pacer Navdeep Saini complained about back spasm. Here also, the next-door neighbour sort of a cricketer proved his worth. He become the talking point after India defeated Australia in the opening T20 opener.
Perhaps, this IPL has seen so many batsmen coming into India’s scheme of things – right from Surya Kumar Yadav, Paddikkal to Rituraj Gaekwad. But Natarajan is the only pacer who has impressed the Indian team management the most.
It was also a grand plan from the management to throw Natarajan into the ring with an objective of producing more champion bowlers like Bumrah. The more the merrier, and it is such a move that has taken the Indian pace attack to superior levels in last four years or so.