T Natarajan profile: All you need to know about the yorker specialist ahead of T20Is against Australia

T Natarajan profile: All you need to know about the yorker specialist ahead of T20Is against Australia

Call him ‘Yorker Natarajan’ like everyone, including Harsha Bhogle, does because he simply knows how to nail the delivery as good as the best in the game. His IPL captain David Warner and teammate Kane Williamson are confident that T Natarajan is the biggest find of IPL 2020. Even after Sunrisers’ heartbreaking exit from the IPL, after Sunday’s defeat against Delhi Capitals, Warner’s heart was full because of how Natarajan’s outstanding performance in the IPL.

Left-arm pacers are a treasure in India and after the likes of Jaydev Unadkat, Khaleel Ahmed, leaving a mark, it’s time for T Natarajan’s to shine. The 29-year-old from Salem in Tamil Nadu, who made his Ranji debut in 2014, was a part of Kings XI Punjab’s IPL 2017 campaign but it was only in IPL 2020 that the left-arm pacer found his prime. Punjab had bagged the Tamil Nadu pacer in IPL 2017 for 3 crores but ended up with only 2 wickets in 6 games.

He was, however, roped in by the Sunrisers Hyderabad for the IPL 2018 edition for 40 lakhs. Due to an elbow injury, which forced him to the miss the 2017-18 season of Ranji Trophy, Natarajan’s first edition with SRH was totally marred and spent on the bench. Later that year, Natarajan made his List A debut for Tamil Nadu. Come to today’s date, with his excellence, Natarajan put himself ahead of capped player Khaleel Ahmed in SRH’s playing XI in IPL 2020.

The ball of IPL 2020

From Jasprit Bumrah stunning KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan to Anrich Nortje rattling Jos Buttler with his express pace, this IPL has been all about the beauty of pace bowling. In fact, it was Kagiso Rabada’s insanely brilliant death overs spell, including 3 wickets in the 19th over, against SRH that took DC to the final of IPL 2020. Amongst all these wonderful performances, T Natarajan’s perfectly executed yorker, a simplistic pace of 136kmph, to charge AB de Villiers’ middle stump in the Eliminator was a standout. The impact of that delivery that dismissed the best batsman ever was all the more felt when Sunrisers Hyderabad took the game and the chance to play in the final away from Royal Challengers Bangalore. It was also, incidentally, the day Natarajan became a father with the birth of his first child.

Yorker Natarajan

Even as Sunrisers Hyderabad crashed out of the IPL, Natarajan’s impact in IPL 2020 is something for the ages to come. It was Natarajan who first gave the Sunrisers a reason to celebrate in the IPL 2020 by leading the Hyderabad’s bowling unit against Delhi Capitals, on September 29. Now known as the King of yorkers, Natrajan displayed visuals to remember in the 18th over of Delhi’s chase of 163.

Natarajan (3-0-18-0) came in to bowl in his first death over of the game, with DC on 119/5, and delivered 5 yorkers in his over and absolutely nailed the last one to dismiss Marcus Stoinis. The humble man was wearing a jersey with his friend and mentor Jayaprakash’s name on it. The mention of ‘JP Nattu’ on the back of his jersey, made Natarajan’s success all the more notable and relatable to the fans.

Former Australia pacer Brett Lee was in awe of the SRH pacer and it showed from what the Australian great wrote on his Twitter: “That’s how you bowl at the back end of an innings ! Outstanding Natarajan.”

Natarajan finished wicketless in his final IPL 2020 game, against Delhi Capitals in the 2nd qualifier, but what was special about his special was the final over Delhi’s innings. The SRH pacer gave away 7 runs with Rishabh Pant and Shimron Hetmyer, two powerful hitters waiting to charge. Natarajan nailed 6 yorkers in that over and there was no way that his heroics would go unnoticed.

As of November 8, Sunday, Natarajan finished in the Top 10 highest wicket-takers in the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League. In 16 matches, Natarajan bagged 16 wickets but more about his bowling could be understood in the impact.

BCCI’s reward to the Yorker King

Former India cricketer Ashish Nehra has called the yorker to be a ‘double-edged sword’ for the reason that it could backfire on the bowler. But a bowler like Natarajan has little to worry about as he completely nails the yorker, something he learned to do at a very young age but with the tennis ball. With his Mustafizur-like cutters, the 29-year-old TNPL bowler is perfect for the T20 format.

Last month, as BCCI announced its squads for the Australia tour, Natarajan was named as one of the 4 uncapped bowlers who would travel with Team India. On Monday, November 9, Natarajan was named in the T20I squad replacing mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy – who has been ruled out due to a shoulder injury. Imagine India’s death bowling with Jasprit Bumrah and potential X-factor T Natarajan terrorizing the batsmen with their hell-ish yorkers.

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