T Natarajan is the 300th player to represent India in the longest format of the game. He made the day even more memorable by scalping the wickets of Matthew Wade and Marnus Labuschagne on the first day of the fourth and final Test of the Border-Gavaskar series.
During a discussion on the Sony Sports network, Zaheer Khan and Ajay Jadeja lauded T Natarajan's bowling in his debut Test.
Zaheer Khan observed that T Natarajan gave a good account of himself by sticking to his strengths and not experimenting much.
"It was a very good first day for him, picking two wickets. And the way he bowled, he didn't try to do too much extra. He just kept on bowling according to his strengths, in the areas we have generally seen him bowl. This also shows that when you are playing at the highest level, you need to stick to the things that have given you success."
Zaheer Khan, the last left-arm fast bowler to represent India in Tests before T Natarajan, said the 29-year old exceeded expectations after being fast-tracked into the longest format of the game because of the spate of injuries plaguing the Indian team.
"You need to keep faith in that, and that was what we saw from Natarajan, which we expected from him. The situation in which the entire Indian bowling unit was, and he got a chance because of injuries, he did better than what was expected from him," said Zaheer Khan.
"I am most impressed by the composure T Natarajan showed" - Ajay Jadeja
Ajay Jadeja expressed his delight about T Natarajan representing India in all three formats of the game in the last 44 days.
The yorker specialist was only drafted into the Indian T20I squad after Varun Chakravarthy was ruled out because of an injury. He went on to make his India debut in ODI cricket before doing so in T20Is and now in Tests as well.
"You feel very happy for him because of the sort of journey he has had. His life's direction has changed in the last 44 days. He was not selected in the T20 format also and came in as a replacement for the injured Chakravarthy. He bowled 20 overs on the first day, so he has shown that he has the stamina. Out of the 63 runs he conceded, 15-odd runs came in the last couple of overs. So, he was economical and because of that he got two wickets as well."
Jadeja observed that it was almost a perfect debut for T Natarajan. The former Indian player spoke in glowing terms about the composure the left-arm bowler exhibited after being drafted into the Test squad following his exploits in white-ball cricket. Interestingly, T Natarajan had no prior experience of playing in the longest format of the game, even for India A.
"You might dream to take 5 wickets on your first day, but if you see realistically it was a very good day for any young player because forget the bowling, you have to first overcome the nerves. He has not even got prepared by playing under-19 or A tours, he has directly played Test cricket from the short format after 40 days. So, I am most impressed by the composure he showed in his bowling."
With Jasprit Bumrah sidelined because of an abdominal strain, India decided to hand a Test debut to T Natarajan, as they opted to go for a four-pronged seam attack on the hard and bouncy Brisbane surface.
The left-arm seamer didn't let the team down by bowling tight line and lengths; he also provided the breakthroughs of the well-set Matthew Wade and centurion Marnus Labuschagne in consecutive overs to bring the beleaguered visitors right back into the game after Australia were seemingly running away with it.