Indian and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) pacer T Natarajan revealed that it was MS Dhoni who advised him to bowl slow bouncers and cutters during his breakout IPL 2020 season helped him get better at his craft.
T Natarajan had a dream IPL 2020 season. The left-arm pacer ascertained himself as a bowler who could bowl yorkers. The Tamil Nadu pacer bowled 71 yorkers in the last season- the most yorkers by any bowler and dismissed big names such as MS Dhoni and AB de Villiers during the season.
His brilliance in IPL earned him his maiden India call-up for the Australia tour as he was added to the T20I squad after Varun Chakravarthy, who was ruled out with an injury and impressed everyone with his yorkers even on the international stage.
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While taking to ESPNCricinfo, T Natarajan said that MS Dhoni’s advice to bowl slow bouncers and cutters has been useful for him.
“Speaking to somebody like Dhoni itself is a big thing. He spoke to me about fitness and encouraged me, saying that I will keep getting better with experience. He said, use slow bouncers, cutters, and variations like that. It has been useful for me,” T Natarajan told ESPNCricinfo.
Natarajan while recalling the wicket of MS Dhoni he took in IPL 2020 said that he was very happy to take the latter’s wicket and also had a chat with him after the match.
“I pitched one in the slot and he hit me for a big six – 102 meters or something. The next ball I got his wicket (and didn’t celebrate) — I was just thinking about that previous ball. After coming back to the dressing room, though, I was happy. After finishing the match, I also had a chat with him,” he said.
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The 30-year-old played a key role in the Eliminator against RCB last season, picking up two wickets including that of AB de Villiers with an exceptional yorker delivery. The victory that night was extra sweet as it coincided with the birth of his baby girl.
While talking about the same, Natarajan recalled that he had decided to not tell anyone about the birth but his skipper David Warner spilled the beans in the post-match presentation.
“On one side there was my girl and on the other side, I got that wicket in an important knockout game. Romba santhosham (I was extremely happy), but I didn’t really tell the others (about the baby). I thought I will tell everyone else after we win the game, but my captain (David) Warner spoke about it, I think, at the post-match (presentation),” he concluded.
T Natarajan will play a vital role in SRH’s campaign this season. The left-arm bowler along with ace pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar will have to be at the top of their game if they have to clinch their second title.
SRH will play their first game against Kolkata Knight Riders on April 11 at Chennai.