Sunrisers Hyderabad mentor VVS Laxman has revealed that T Natarajan missed out in the playing XI against Mumbai Indians as he was not fit for the game. Laxman also heaped praise on his replacement Khaleel Ahmed, who he reckoned nailed the conditions at Chepauk to put up a strong show.
After losing back-to-back games, when David Warner announced at the toss against Mumbai that his side had made four changes to the XI, it left everyone stunned. One of the biggest omissions was that of India's rising star T Natarajan, who has had a great last few months, at the top-level. It was speculated by public, at large, that the Tamil Nadu pacer was dropped from the side after his mediocre displays in the first two games.
However, after Tom Moody, team's mentor VVS Laxman, extensively explained the reason behind T Natarajan's exclusion. Laxman stated that the left-armer missed out on the game against Mumbai Indians as he wasn't fit enough to feature in the encounter at Chepauk, on Saturday, which SRH lost by 13 runs.
“Yeah, unfortunately, Natarajan missed out because of a sore knee and a niggle in his left knee, he was ruled out of this match. So, he was unfit for this match and that’s why we went with Khaleel Ahmed. We are going to assess the condition of Natarajan and I’m sure that the medical staff of Sunrisers will take the right decision which will be beneficial for him and the franchise,” VVS Laxman said at the press-conference.
One of the positives from the game for SRH was the bowling performance of youngster Khaleel Ahmed. He hasn't been a regular in the team since the last season but has performed well whenever given chances. Against MI too, he put up a very decent show as he took one wicket for 24 runs. His bowling had become all the more crucial especially after Hyderabad were not playing Jason Holder while Bhuvneshwar Kumar was having an off day.
Laxman was very impressed with the young left-arm pacer and reckoned that he made great use of the conditions with his variations coming off well.
“I was very impressed with the way Khaleel Ahmed bowled in his first game of the season. I think he assessed the conditions really well and used a lot of his variation along with extracting a lot of pace and bounce off the surface. So, a lot of positives for SRH in the Khaleel Ahmed bowled,” VVS Laxman said.