India’s premier off-spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin reveals that Ajinkya Rahane, who was the interim skipper in the Test series in Australia, pondered over declaring the innings lest T Natarajan getting injured from a barrage of bouncers by Mitchell Starc in the Brisbane Test.
During India’s first innings at the Gabba, batting at number 11, T Natarajan was subjected to a high-intensity over from Mitchell Starc as the lethal pacer bowled short balls to the tailender. As Ravichandran Ashwin reveals, Rahane, in fear of losing another pacer – India were already a bowler down as Navdeep Saini walked off the field with a groin strain in Australia’s innings – contemplated with the coach, Ravi Shastri, that they could declare the innings otherwise Natarajan may get injured.
Ravichandran Ashwin and India’s fielding coach, R Sridhar, revealed the inside dressing room story on the former’s YouTube channel. Later, Natarajan had jokingly said that even though e defended, he didn’t even properly see Starc’s deliveries.
Here is the conversation:
Ravichandran Ashwin: “That over when he faced Mitchell Starc. The nervous moments you guys went through(team management) while he was at the crease. In fact, our captain wanted to declare being afraid of another injury.”
Sridhar: “Captain came charging to the coaches room. ‘Shall we declare? If he gets injured, we will be left with only three bowlers in the second innings.'”
Ashwin: “That was the problem. Rahane must have been worried if he or Rohit Sharma might have had to bowl.”
Sridhar: “He was really worried if he would only have three bowlers if Starc injured Natarajan. Nattu told you he didn’t see the ball.”
Ravichandran Ashwin: “He did. But truth be told he played straight forward defense and the ball stopped right next to him. I praised him for his soft hands. He corrected me, ‘No, bro. The ball got jammed between my bat and the pitch. That’s the reason.'”
T Natarajan won’t leave Australia before making his Test debut: Ravichandran Ashwin
T Natarajan has had a dream past5 months: From bowling most yorkers in the IPL to making his debut in all three formats for India after being selected as a net bowler. Ashwin heaps praise on the pacer saying that there was a feeling in the dressing room that the Tamil Nadu pacer would definitely make his Test debut as well on the same tour after his impressive maiden appearances for India in limited-overs cricket.
The left-arm pacer is rested from the England Test series and will spend time with his new-born daughter – he would be back for the white-ball matches against Eoin Morgan’s side.
“Nattu will get his debut cap at Gabba. He won’t leave Australia before making his Test debut – that was the talk among us right from the start. He came as a Netarajan(net bowler) and transformed into Natarajan,” Ravichandran Ashwin further said.