Virender Sehwag has recalled that he was very happy when KXIP bought T Natarajan in the IPL Auction during his stint as the mentor for the franchise, adding that he had the talent to succeed. He also revealed that with lack of death-bowling options, the franchise decided to show their trust in him.
Ahead of the 2017 IPL season, Kings XI Punjab stunned everyone on the auction table when they splashed Rs.3 crore for an unknown left-arm seamer - T Natarajan from Tamil Nadu. The left-arm seamer, despite having made his impact and presence felt in the TNPL was largely an unknown bowler in the tournament back then. While his season was plagued with an injury, Natarajan never got to showcase himself in KXIP’s colours.
Having shown his worth for Sunrisers Hyderabad, which subsequently has earned him the Indian cap, Natarajan has emerged as one of the success stories from the 2020 edition of the IPL. Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag, who served as KXIP’s mentor back in the 2017 season, recalled that the franchise was very happy with the purchase of the left-arm seamer. He also admitted that Natarajan had the talent to succeed.
“I was very happy because when I had picked Natarajan in the IPL for the Kings XI Punjab, everyone was asking questions that this player has come who has not even played domestic cricket and came after playing just the TNPL league, so how he was picked at such a huge price,” Sehwag, who was KXIP mentor at the time, said, reported HT.
“I saw his videos and then decided that we will surely take him at the auction because we did not have a death bowler. Unfortunately that year, he had an injury to the elbow or the knee because of which he could not play too many matches. But we won only the matches that he played in and lost all the other matches,” Sehwag added.
Talking about his India debut, Sehwag expressed his shock over the management picking the 29-year-old in the 50-over format. He stated that he was only expecting Natarajan to make his debut in the T20I format, while he went on to pick up two crucial wickets in India’s narrow win against Australia in Canberra in the third ODI.
“So I was very excited to see that he was getting an opportunity although I was thinking that he would be given a chance in the T20Is but it was a surprise for me that he was played in the ODIs. But whatever happened was good. All the best to T Natarajan. I hope that he keeps on doing well from here and makes his place in the Indian team,” he concluded.