T Natarajan has had a year to remember in 2020. The left-arm pacer impressed with his bowling performances in this year's edition of the Indian Premier League (16 wickets in as many matches), and received a maiden Team India call-up on the back of his performances.
Natarajan made his debut in the third ODI of the series against Australia, and went on to appear for the side in all the T20Is, as Virat Kohli's men defeated Australia 2-1 in the shortest format.
Natarajan took six wickets in three T20I innings, and also scalped two wickets in his maiden ODI.
The left-armer had an eventful cricketing career so far, which also saw him being reported for chucking in 2015. Natarajan has spoken in length about the low phase of his career, and in an interview with the Times of India, former spinner Sunil Subramanian, who was the head of TNCA Adademy at the time of Natarajan's chucking report, talked about the bowler's incredible commitment to return to action.
He revealed that Natarajan bowled "close to 13,000 balls away from public glare" as he aimed for a return to cricket.
"Natarajan's issue was that at the point of loading, his bowling arm was going away from the body instead of loading close to the chin (which is considered ideal)," Subramaniam said.
"Once the bowling arm starts going away, the rotation means that the hand doesn't move like a pulley in a straight line when it comes down at the time of front-foot landing. When that is the case, there is likely to be a slight flexion."
Subramaniam further explained the process to rectify Natarajan's action, calling it "long and rigourous."
"We went step by step and focused on each aspect of his bowling action. We started with just the run-up, then made him do a 2-step drill where he loads under the chin and finishes his action. This went on for a couple of months. Later, he began bowling with just a stump to target and then gradually began bowling to batsmen. It was a long and rigorous process. It was a trial by fire, but in hindsight, we were perhaps unknowingly preparing him for international cricket," said Subramaniam.