T Natarajan Records 2nd Best Figures By Left Arm Pacer After RP Singh On Debut
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T Natarajan Records 2nd Best Figures By Left Arm Pacer After RP Singh On Debut

T Natarajan
T Natarajan

T Natarajan recorded the second-best figures by an Indian left-arm seamer on debut as he finished with 3 for 78 against Australia in the series decider at Brisbane.

T Natarajan celebrated his elevation from backup bowler at nets to cricket’s most elite level by taking a three-wicket haul as India bowled Australia out for 369 on Day 2 of the fourth Test in Brisbane on Saturday.

T Natarajan
T Natarajan. Image Credit: BCCI.

T Natarajan Was Initially Selected As Net Bowler But Injuries To Key Players Saw Him Debut In All 3 Formats

T Natarajan’s fairytale rise in the last three months has been one of the most heartening cricketing stories. The BCCI had initially named him as a net bowler for the Australian tour. However, because of multiple injuries in the Indian camp, T Natarajan made his debut in all formats Down Under.

T Natarajan was named in T20I squad after Varun Chakravarthy’s injury and was added as a backup pacer in ODIs after Navdeep Saini complained of back spasms. After injuries to Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, he debuted in 4th Test.

T Natarajan became the first Indian player to make debuts in all 3 formats — T20I, ODI and Test on the same tour. He is the 17th player overall to do so. He becomes the second India player to do so after Bhuvneshwwar Kumar in the same season.

RP Singh
RP Singh (Image Credit: Twitter)

T Natarajan joined former India pacer, RP Singh, in an elite list as he cleaned up the last Australian man Josh Hazlewood to return with impressive figures of 3 for 78 on his Test debut. Notably, this is the 2nd best figures for an Indian left-arm pacer on debut after RP Singh’s 4 for 89 against Pakistan back in 2005/06.

Best figures in debut innings by a left-arm seamer (India)

4/89 RP Singh v Pakistan Faisalabad 2005/06
3/78 T NATARAJAN v Australia Brisbane 2020/21 *
3/97 SS Nyalchand v Pakistan Lucknow 1952/53

Arrived in Australia as a net bowler, the Tamil Nadu cricketer became the first Indian cricketer to make his international debut across all three formats during the same tour.

T Natarajan Was Aided By Washington Sundar And Shardul Thakur While Navdeep Saini Suffered Groin Injury

Another debutant for India all-rounder spinner Washington Sundar took 3 for 89 and Shardul Thakur had figures of 3 for 94 in only his second Test match. India, who lost the toss and were sent into a bowl on day one, are shorthanded in the attack, with seamer Navdeep Saini having suffered a groin injury after bowling 7.5 overs.

Navdeep Saini
Navdeep Saini (Image Credit: Google)

The series is tied 1-1 and India needs only a draw to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy. But the inexperienced Indian bowling attack did exceptionally well to contain Australia despite missing pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah and leading spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.

Injuries to likes of Ravindra Jadeja, Hanuma Vihari and KL Rahul saw India field a relatively inexperienced team. Multiple injuries saw India using 20 players in a Test series-the most by them in a series since 1961/62. Apart from stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane and No. 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, no one has featured in all four Tests in the current Australian summer.