Former Indian batsman VVS Laxman believes that newcomer T Natarajan will be the X-factor for the Indian side in the T20 setup. The left-arm fast bowler earned his maiden national call-up for the 3-match T20I series against Australia which starts on December 4.
In an interview with Sportstar, Laxman stated that T Natarajan, being a left-arm fast bowler, will provide variety to the Indian bowling attack.
“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,” Laxman said.
T Natarajan carved a niche for himself in the recently concluded IPL 2020 by not only taking 16 wickets in as many matches, but also by bowling yorkers at will. Sunrisers Hyderabad mentor Laxman, however, added that T Natarajan has quite a few variations up his sleeve which he didn’t use in the tournament.
“Natarajan was always known for those yorkers - even in the TNPL. But, I must say he’s 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,” the SRH mentor stated.
“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,” VVS Laxman reasoned.
‘T Natarajan is a hard-working cricketer who never missed a training session,’ says VVS Laxman
VVS Laxman also heaped praise on T Natarajan’s work ethic and dedication, saying that the left-armer speedster performed consistently both in the Tamil Nadu cricketing circles and for the Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2017.
“Natarajan is a hard-working cricketer who never missed a training session and is always wanting to work on his skills to be a much better bowler every day. He has been doing really well in the TNPL, he was part of Kings XI Punjab, he did well consistently for Tamil Nadu in Ranji Trophy. He didn’t get too many opportunities in SRH because of the likes of Siddharth Kaul, Sandeep Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar being the frontline bowlers,” Laxman told Sportstar.
Interestingly, T Natarajan got a place in the SRH starting XI ahead of Khaleel Ahmed and Siddharth Kaul, both of whom have represented India previously. Laxman attributed the decision to T Natarajan’s performance in the practice matches ahead of IPL 2020.
“He has been doing well right from the practice matches before the IPL began in the UAE. The kind of confidence level he showed right from the start was amazing...That is the reason why we gave him the chance ahead of Khaleel Ahmed and once Bhuvi was ruled out with an injury, he became an important cog in the attack,” Laxman added.
India will square off against Australia in Canberra for the opening match of the T20I series on December 4, before going to Sydney to play the remaining two games on December 6 and 8.
Published 18 Nov 2020, 13:27 IST