Tamil Nadu pacer T Natarajan ruled out of the Ranji Trophy due to elbow injury
Ahead of their must-win games, Tamil Nadu suffered a massive blow as their pacer Thangarasu Natarajan was ruled out of the ongoing Ranji Trophy after suffering an elbow injury. Natarajan, fondly called as Nattu by his teammates, has been one of TN's best players last season as he, along with Aswin Crist and K Vignesh were instrumental in their team's run till the semi-final.
After his heroics in the 2016 IPL and the subsequent Indian domestic season, Nattu was picked up by Kings XI Punjab for a whopping 3 crores INR in the 2017 IPL auction. He turned out for the Glenn Maxwell-led outfit on quite a few occasions in the IPL and had a decent run in them.
Going into this season's Ranji Trophy, a lot was expected from the left-arm seamer as a consistent season could have put him in the national reckoning. Unfortunately, he was forced to miss his team's first two matches due to a knee injury. When he recovered from this setback, he injured his left elbow and this has forced him to sit out of action for at least six weeks, which means he will miss the entire Ranji Trophy tournament.
"Earlier, I injured my knee and when I was recovering, I injured my elbow. Last season, I had a good run and I was hopeful of continuing from where I left off. It's really disappointing. The board has been backing me during my tough times and I am thankful to them," Natarajan told Sportskeeda in an exclusive interview.
It is understood that Nattu will be undergoing recovery and rehab under the guidance of TNCA physios and is likely to go to Mumbai to consult a specialist later this week.
He also added that he is eyeing to make a comeback to action in time for the Vijay Hazare Trophy and the Inter-Zonal T20 tournament that follows the Ranji Trophy.
"I am looking forward to be fit in time for the Vijay Hazare Trophy and the regional T20 competition. I am mentally strong to come back from these setbacks as I have done it quite a few times in the past," he added.
Tamil Nadu's bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji pointed out that Natarajan's injury woes could well be due to the fact that he started playing the longer format a touch late. Speaking to Times of India, Balaji said, "Probably, the demands of first-class cricket sometimes gets into you if you had started playing cricket a bit late. It is about getting used to bowling a lot of overs. It might take a little time for his bowling muscles to adapt to the number of balls he bowls in the longer format. The endurance in your bowling muscles needs some time to adapt. Natarajan started first division cricket about four years or so back and so his muscles are still developing."
After their first three matches, Tamil Nadu have just seven points, thanks to the first-innings lead against Tripura and Mumbai, and are fourth in their group. Andhra are currently leading Group C with 15 points followed by Madhya Pradesh with 14 and Mumbai with 10. TN need to win at least two of their next three matches and hope that other results are favourable to them to finish in the top 2.
TN's matches against Madhya Pradesh and Baroda, that were supposed to take place in Chennai later this month, have been moved out of the city due to rain threats and will be taking place in Indore and Baroda respectively.