Former India batsman VVS Laxman has said Tamil Nadu and Sunrisers Hyderabad left-arm pacer T Natarajan could be the X-Factor in the Indian squad for the ICC T20 World Cup next year.
Laxman, SRH’s mentor, said Natarajan’s death bowling will be useful in a tournament like the T20 World Cup.
“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 had an impressive IPL 2020 where he bowled yorkers at will in the death overs, which earned him a place in the Indian T20 squad for the tour of Australia. However, Laxman said Natarajan was not just about yorkers.
“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 said.
“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, the 29-year-old from Salem, played a key role in getting the Hyderabad-based team to the knockout stages, picking up 16 wickets in as many matches. He had an economy rate of 8.02 in this edition, which is an ode to his mastery of the death bowling craft. Natarajan bowled the most number of Yorkers in IPL 2020 and lead the race by a long margin.
His impressive display saw him named among the reserve group of net bowlers for the Australia tour but he made it to the T20 squad after Varun Chakravarthy made way for him due to a shoulder injury.
India will begin their tour of Australia their 69-day all-format tour and will play their first match of the 3-match ODI series on November 27. Then they will play a three-match T20I series followed by a four-match Test series.