Former Indian pace-bowling spearhead Zaheer Khan has heaped high praise on left-arm pacer T Natarajan where he reckoned that the debutant exceeded expectations with his performance on the very first day of his Test career.
T Natarajan has had a surreal past three months and his fortunes reached a zenith on Friday when he not only became India’s 300th Test cricketer but also the first left-arm pacer to represent the country in the longest format of the game since the legendary Zaheer Khan.
Natarajan made his debut even more special as he claimed two crucial wickets in the form of Matthew Wade and centurion Marnus Labuschagne. But more the wickets, what impressed everyone including Zaheer Khan the most is that the yorker specialist did not try too many variations and kept it simple by hitting a length on a consistent basis.
“It was a very good first day for him, picking two wickets. And the way he bowled, he didn’t try to do too much extra. He just kept on bowling according to his strengths, in the areas we have generally seen him bowl. This also shows that when you are playing at the highest level, you need to stick to the things that have given you success.” Zaheer Khan said on Sony Sports Network.
“You need to keep faith in that, and that was what we saw from Natarajan, which we expected from him. The situation in which the entire Indian bowling unit was, and he got a chance because of injuries, he did better than what was expected from him,” said Zaheer Khan,” he added.
Dec 2nd, 2020 – Natarajan got his maiden ODI wicket.
Dec 4th, 2020 – Natarajan got his maiden T20 wicket.
Jan 15th, 2021 – Natarajan got his maiden Test wicket.
No celebration, just a smile – Nattu. From net bowler to taking wickets in all formats in just one month. pic.twitter.com/ylcRP1BoqJ
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) January 15, 2021
Former Indian batsman Ajay Jadeja was also impressed with the temperament that the 29-year-old showed despite having no prior experience in the longest format of the game at the international level or even India A level.
“You feel very happy for him because of the sort of journey he has had. His life’s direction has changed in the last 44 days. He was not selected in the T20 format also and came in as a replacement for the injured Chakravarthy. He bowled 20 overs on the first day, so he has shown that he has the stamina. Out of the 63 runs he conceded, 15-odd runs came in the last couple of overs. So, he was economical and because of that he got two wickets as well,” Ajay Jadeja said.
“You might dream to take 5 wickets on your first day, but if you see realistically it was a very good day for any young player because forget the bowling, you have to first overcome the nerves. He has not even got prepared by playing under-19 or A tours, he has directly played Test cricket from the short format after 40 days. So, I am most impressed by the composure he showed in his bowling.” he added.
Meanwhile, T Natarajan scripted history on Friday as he became the first Indian cricketer to make his debut across all formats of the game during a single tour.
The southpaw made his ODI debut last month in Canberra after he was called up as a last-minute addition to the squad due to injury concerns for Navdeep Saini. He then made his T20I debut at the same venue a few days later and impressed everyone with his skills and variations as he emerged as the leader of the attack in the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami.
He was held back as a net bowler for the Test series but as luck would have it, the fast bowler from Chinnappampatti became the 300th Indian Test cricketer, a month later.