T Natarajan, who was set to spearhead India’s T20I attack in the absence of Bumrah, could reportedly miss the entirety of the T20I series versus England with a mystery injury that is yet to be disclosed. Natarajan is currently at the NCA in Bengaluru, and will not be available for the first T20I.
An already-weakened Indian attack could become even weaker as reports have emerged that T Natarajan is currently a doubt for the five-match T20I series versus England, starting March 12. Natarajan, who had a breakthrough IPL season with Sunrisers Hyderabad last year and saw himself get fast-tracked to the national side across all formats, enjoyed a dream debut series in the shortest format, picking 6 wickets at an ER of 6.91, but he could see himself sit the T20Is versus England out.
Cricinfo reports that the 29-year-old speedster is currently at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru undergoing rehab for a mystery injury. The NCA are said to have informed the BCCI of Natarajan’s unavailability at least until March 12, which will rule him out of the first T20I, but the full nature of the injury is yet to be disclosed. The BCCI, too, are yet to send formal communication about the left-arm seamer’s injury.
Natarajan’s absence will hurt India, who are already without the services of both Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja, but their woes could be compounded as reports have also emerged stating that mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy failed a fitness test. Like Natarajan, Chakravarthy too spent time rehabbing at the NCA, but the KKR star is said to have fallen short in the mandatory ‘new’ fitness tests that the Indian board incorporated last month.
While it remains to be seen whether the board will name a replacement for Natarajan, rumors have been doing the rounds that Mumbai Indians leg-spinner Rahul Chahar will take the spot of Chakravarthy in the T20I squad.
The first of the five T20Is will be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Friday, March 12.