Thangarasu Natarajan was arguably among the players who left their mark in the recently-concluded thirteenth edition of the Indian Premier League. The left-arm fast bowler, hailing from Tamil Nadu, established his place in the SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) set-up, filling the void left by veteran Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
With his pinpoint accuracy and ability to bowl yorkers in death overs, Natarajan scalped 16 wickets in 16 games in the UAE, playing a vital role in the Hyderabad's journey and even taking the prized wickets of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. Natarajan's unplayable yorker to de Villiers was labelled among the best deliveries of the league by many fans.
Following his IPL 2020 exploits, 29-year-old Natarajan also earned a national call-up for the T20I series against Australia. While many believe that it was a bit early to slot the pacer into the national side, SRH mentor VVS Laxman feels otherwise. The former India batsman said that left-armer Natarajan can be the 'X-Factor' with his ability to bowl at the death.
“With the T20 World Cup scheduled next year - if you look at the Indian team, it requires someone good at the death. It is great to see the likes of Mohammed Shami and Navdeep Saini bowl with such confidence in the death. Natarajan being a left-armer will be the X-factor,” Laxman told Sportstar.
Speaking about Natarajan's variations and accuracy, Laxman said, "He was always known for those yorkers - even in the TNPL. But, I must say he got a lot of variations which he didn’t use in the IPL. He has a sharp bouncer, slower one, off-cutter and has the wicket-taking ability with the new ball."
“Essentially, Natarajan has the mindset and the confidence of executing yorkers which we generally believe to be the toughest to deliver. And, he has done consistently and exceedingly well through the IPL, the pick of them being the dismissal of RCB’s AB de Villiers under pressure.”