Former Indian cricketer and selector Anshuman Gaekwad believes that left-arm pacer T Natarajan is ready to play Test cricket for India, while also commending the Indian team management for backing the 29-year-old's progress.
Natarajan was roped in the Indian squad after the second Test against Australia as a replacement for the injured Umesh Yadav.
The speedster had a breakout season in IPL 2020 but was initially added only as a net bowler during India's ongoing tour of Australia.
But Natarajan made his T20I and ODI debuts against Australia after replacing injured Indian bowlers and managed to make his mark.
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda's Indranil Basu on SK Live, Gaekwad backed Natarjan to shine in the longest format of the game too.
"Every individual in this Indian team who made his debut has delivered. They have not shied away. You are talking about T Natarajan, why not? I am sure he is ready for it. The difference comes in the pressures of domestic and international cricket. If you can take the pressure and perform, you don't have to look back."
Team management's backing gives a lot of confidence to players like T Natarajan: Aunshuman Gaekwad
Mohammed Siraj and Shubman Gill also made their Test debuts in the ongoing tour of Australia, with both performing well in the second Test, which India won by eight wickets to level the four-match series at 1-1.
And Gaekwad, who is of the opinion that the team management's backing and close coordination helped them to perform well, feels Natarajan will also shine if given a chance.
"The captain and the team are all backing each other and are staying together. That gives a lot of confidence (to youngsters). I am sure with the kind of hard work Natarajan has put in to come to this stage, I have seen his story, it's amazing. He has to be working hard unless you won't even reach to bowl in the nets for the Indian team. And he has done that. I am sure if he gets a chance he will grab it with both hands."
At the moment, reports are rife about either Shardul Thakur or Navdeep Saini replacing Umesh Yadav in the third Test, which starts at the Sydney Cricket Ground from Thursday.
However, if Team India decide to play Natarjan, his bowling acumen could add value to the visitors' bowling department.Published 05 Jan 2021, 08:05 IST