VVS Laxman, the Sunrisers Hyderabad mentor, revealed that T Natarajan wasn’t completely fit and hence was left out of the eleven against Mumbai Indians on Saturday. SRH suffered another loss in another run-chase, their third of the season, and remains the only team to not have won a single game this season so far.
The Sunrisers looked on track to register their first victory after Jonny Bairstow gave the side a thunderous start. However, once the Englishman was dismissed, the rest crumbled, even further post David Warner’s run-out and lost the game by 13 runs.
T Natarajan has had a dream past few months which saw him make debuts for the national team in all three formats and has picked 2 wickets in the first two matches. VVS Laxman said that the left-arm pacer “had a niggle in his left knee” and that the medical team will continue to monitor the Tamil Nadu seamer for future games.
“Unfortunately, Natarajan had a niggle in his left knee and that’s why he was ruled out and that’s why we went with Khaleel Ahmed who is also a left-arm seamer…We are going to assess the condition of Natarajan and I am sure the medical staff of the Sunrisers will take the right decision which will be beneficial for him and the franchise,” VVS Laxman said in the press conference.
A lot of positives to take from the way Khaleel Ahmed bowled: VVS Laxman
The 46-year-old, though, takes a major positive from the game in Khaleel Ahmed’s bowling. The left-hander was brought in the eleven in place of Natarajan and did a praiseworthy work. He returned with figures of 1/24 from his 4 overs with the wicket of Hardik Pandya; Ahmed could have had Kieron Pollard as well had Vijay Shankar held onto a simple catch at mid-wicket. Pollard went on to hit two sixes off the last couple of balls of the innings, which eventually proved to be the difference between win and loss.
VVS Laxman praised Ahmed for quickly gauging the conditions in his first game of the season, and used his variations smartly to keep the MI batters in check. SRH, in a search for their maiden victory of IPL 2021, will challenge the Punjab Kings on Wednesday.
“I was very impressed with the way he bowled. In his first game of the season, he assessed the conditions really well and used a lot of his variations along with extracting a lot of pace and bounce off the surface. So a lot of positives [to take] for SRH from the way Khaleel Ahmed bowled,” the former India batsman added.