T Natarajan has been the talk of the country ever since he made his debut for India in the final ODI against Australia last week. Since then, he has gone on to play a crucial role in India’s 2-1 T20I series win down under, with many even suggesting he should have got the Man of the Match award for his six wickets across three matches.
One of the striking aspects of Natarajan’s performance in his first trip with Team India has been the calmness he exudes in pressure situations. In particular, he hardly shows ‘aggression’ even after picking crucial wickets. Speaking to Murali Kartik for host broadcaster Sony, Natarajan explained why.
“I have never been aggressive and that’s how I have been since my younger days. I can’t fake aggression. Each time I take a wicket, all that I do is just smile and go,” Natarajan said.
“I’m very happy. Just to get a chance to play against a quality side like Australia has been extraordinary. I have no words to describe the feeling.
From being a net bowler to impressing the whole nation in his debut series, @Natarajan_91 has surely come a far way 🙌🏽Watch him talk to @kartikmurali about his journey and game plan 🎙️#CricketKaAsliRang #AUSvIND #INDvAUS #SonySports #TNatarajan #Natarajan pic.twitter.com/Cgo2Mv4NHw
— Sony Sports (@SonySportsIndia) December 8, 2020
“I came here with no expectations. I just wanted to do my work. I anyway came here as a net bowler and got a chance only because of an injury. People here supported me a lot too, they motivated me and I got confidence."
Natarajan said the key to his performance was keeping things simple and focusing on execution.
“I always believe in my strength. My strength has always been the ability to bowl those yorkers and cutters. I ask the wicketkeeper and the captain about the wicket and bowl my variations accordingly. I didn’t want to change too much, just wanted to do what I did in the IPL and execute clearly," he said.
“I have not looked to do anything different from what I did during the IPL. You don’t change too much when something is working for you over a period of time."
Natarajan’s performance even impressed captain Virat Kohli, who had in a nice gesture passed on the series trophy to the left-arm pacer.
“Special mention to Natarajan — because in the absence of Shami and Bumrah he has been the guy who has stood up and really delivered under pressure. Outstanding for the fact that he is playing the first few games at the international level, looks very composed, he is very sure of what he wants to do," said Kohli while speaking to reporters after the third T20 International which India lost by 12 runs.
“Natarajan is a very hard-working guy, a humble guy and you feel happy for the guys working hard for results and making the team win. I wish him all the best. Hope he continues to work hard on his game and keep getting better because a left-arm bowler is always an asset for any team. And if he can bowl that well and consistently, it will be a great thing for us heading into World Cup next year," he said.