Originally named as a net bowler to tour Australia after his impressive performance in the Indian Premier League, pacer T Natarajan ended up making history by making his debut in all three formats. His senior colleague from Tamil Nadu Ashwin Ravichandra summed it up when he said “net-arajan” finished as Natarajan playing Test cricket for India.
The 29-year-old pacer became the only India player to earn his caps in all the three formats in the same tour but said didn’t expect to get the opportunity and was under pressure in his first match in India colours.
He made his international debut in the third ODI in Canberra on December 2 and said representing the country was a dream come true.
“I was keen to do my job. I didn’t expect to get an opportunity in the ODIs. When I was told that I will be playing there was pressure. I wanted to make use of the opportunity. Playing and taking a wicket was like a dream,” Natarajan told reporters in Chinnappampatti in Salem district.
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The left-arm pacer made his Test debut in the fourth and final match at Gabba after all of India’s frontline bowlers were sidelined due to injury and played his part in the historic series win against Australia with three wickets in the match. He was welcomed home in a decorated chariot.
“I cannot express my happiness in words about playing for India...It was like a dream. I got a lot of support from the coaches, players. They supported and motivated me a lot. I was able to perform well because of their backing,” he said.
Natarajan also said he enjoyed playing under the captaincy of Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, adding they both supported and encouraged him a lot.
“(Virat) Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane handled me very well.. they had positive things to say and encouraged me a lot. I enjoyed playing under both of them,” he added.
Natarajan was especially impressive in the T20Is, the format that he is most well-versed with. Hardik Pandya was declared the player of the series that India won but the allrounder shared the award with the rookie pacer from TN.
Pandya was seen giving the trophy to the bowler, who was playing his first international series for India. He was the standout bowler from both sides with 6-83 in 12 overs and an economy under seven.
“You were outstanding this series. To perform brilliantly in difficult conditions on your India debut speaks volumes of your talent and hardwork. You deserve Man of the Series from my side,” Pandya wrote on Twitter.
With PTI Inputs