Former coach Ravi Shastri has hailed T Natarajan as a death bowling specialist, saying the Indian team missed the left-arm pacer sorely during their T20 World Cup 2021 debacle in UAE.
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Natarajan, who came to the limelight in India's historic Test series win Down Under in early 2021, suffered a knee injury and missed most part of the year before making a comeback in Sunrisers Hyderabad’s second match of the IPL 2022 on Monday.
“Very happy for him. We missed him in the World Cup. He would've been a certainty had he been fit,” Shastri was quoted as saying. India made a heart-breaking group-stage exit in the T20 World Cup in 2021.
“He got injured against England when we were playing the ODI series and we really missed him (in the World Cup). He's that specialist death bowler, bowls those yorkers very skilfully. He's got great control. He is skiddy. A bit quicker than you think and hits the bat,” Shastri said.
The 31-year-old, who was bought back by SRH for Rs 4 crore, made a fine comeback after 12 months, picking 2 for 26 from his full quota of four overs, even as they suffered their second defeat on the trot with a 12-run loss.
Shastri was the head coach when the left-arm pacer made his debut for India across the three formats in their memorable 2020-21 tour to Australia. The former coach said Natarajan was a lucky charm for them.
“Every game I've picked him we've won. In his debut in T20, India won. In his debut in Test cricket, India won. From a net bowler, he played those other two formats,” Shastri said. Sunrisers Hyderabad will next face defending champions Chennai Super Kings on April 9.