Sunrisers Hyderabad mentor VVS Laxman has asserted that one of his tutors, T Natarajan, being a left-armer, will be the ‘x-factor’ for India come the World T20 at home next year. Laxman also revealed that Natarajan has a lot of variations in his arsenal which he is yet to u0nleash in the big stage.
Tamil Nadu’s Thangarasu Natarajan was a long-forgotten figure after his grim showing with Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2017, but the left-armer came roaring back this year, representing Sunrisers Hyderabad. In one of the best seasons by any uncapped player in the tournament’s history, Natarajan claimed 16 wickets and carried the SRH pace attack in the absence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar while carving a niche for himself through his yorkers. The 29-year-old’s impressive showing, in fact, catapulted him into the national fray and the selectors fast-tracked him into the national side by naming him as an injury replacement for Varun Chakravarthy for the Australia T20Is.
Few know about Natarajan better than his SRH mentor VVS Laxman, and commenting on the speedster, the legendary batsman predicted the left-armer to be the ‘x-factor’ for India come the WT20 next year.
“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 told Sportstar.
Natarajan’s USP turned out to be his ability to dish out yorkers for fun and remarkably, the 29-year-old bowled an astounding 76 yorkers in IPL 2020, the second-most by any bowler in a single IPL edition. He has, however, at times, been criticised for his predictability but Laxman assured that there is a whole lot to the speedster than just yorkers. The SRH mentor revealed that Natarajan has a lot of variations he did not use in the IPL, which, he believes, will keep him in good stead as his career progresses.
“Natarajan was always known for those yorkers - even in the TNPL. But, I must say he 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,” Laxman explained.
“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.”
Natarajan is currently in Australia with the rest of the Indian squad, quarantining prior to the ODI series which starts on November 27.