VVS Laxman, who have played many memorable innings against Australia, feels the player T Natarajan could be a handy pick not only for the T20Is against hosts Australia but also considering the T20 World Cup next year.
Pacer T Natarajan replaced injured Kolkata Knight Risers spinner Varun Chakravarthy. Both of them are uncapped. While the spinner picked 17 wickets in 13 games averaging 20.94, the pacer picked 16 in 16 games averaging 31.5.
VVS Laxman: T Natarajan As A Left Armer Is The X-Factor As India Require Death Bowler With T20 World Cup Scheduled In 2021
Earlier, in early November, the Indian squads were announced for all three formats for the tour of Australia. The squads were received with mixed reactions from experts since a couple of names like Suryakumar Yadav, Axar Patel were missing despite excellent performances in IPL. In contrast, two promising pacers received maiden calls.
Mohammed Siraj has played 1 ODI and 3 T20Is for India previously. Still, the 26-year-old was in for a pleasant surprise when his name was announced in India’s Test squad where injured Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar didn’t find a place as expected.
However, another name that wasn’t expected was T Natarajan, the left-arm fast bowler from Tamil Nadu who made heads turn with his accurate yorkers and pin-point bouncers playing for SRH in IPL 2020.
“With the T20 World Cup scheduled next year – if you look at the Indian team, it requires someone good at the death. It is great to see the likes of Mohammed Shami and Navdeep Saini bowl with such confidence in the death. Natarajan being a left-armer will be the X-factor,” VVS Laxman told Sportstar.
VVS Laxman, a mentor with SRH, is not one of them who believe the decision to hand the 29-year-old a ticket to Australia was early. In fact, the former India batsman feels T Natarajan could be a handy pick not only for the T20Is, but also keeping in mind the T20 World Cup next year in India.
VVS Laxman: T Natarajan Has Mindset And Confidence Of Executing Yorkers
In the recently-concluded IPL 2020 where VVS Laxman’s home team SunRisers Hyderabad crashed out after losing to Delhi in Qualifier 2, he had reasons to smile after T Natarajan was picked as a replacement in T20I squad for the Australian tour.
T Natarajan playing for SunRisers Hyderabad dismissed the likes of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. Though the left-arm pacer has mostly been associated with yorkers and is hailed as yorker king, VVS Laxman says T Natarajan can offer plenty of variations too.
“Natarajan was always known for those yorkers – even in the TNPL. But, I must say he got a lot of variations which he didn’t use in the IPL. He has a sharp bouncer, slower one, off-cutter and has the wicket taking ability with the new ball,” VVS Laxman explained.
“Essentially, Natarajan has the mindset and the confidence of executing yorkers which we generally believe to be the toughest to deliver. And, he has done consistently and exceedingly well through the IPL, the pick of them being the dismissal of RCB’s AB de Villiers under pressure,” he concluded.
T Natarajan picked 16 wickets in 16 games and now has 18 scalps from 22 games in overall IPL averaging 34.38. The 29-year-old pacer from Salem in Tamil Nadu made his Ranji Trophy debut in 2014 and was a part of Kings XI Punjab’s IPL 2017 campaign. Punjab had bagged the Tamil Nadu pacer in IPL 2017 for 3 crores, but he ended up with only 2 wickets in 6 games.