Rejuvenated Natarajan rekindles Tamil Nadu hopes
AUSTRALIAN pace legend Glenn McGrath during a chat with Express had said that a fit and healthy body is half the job done for a fast bowler. Tamil Nadu’s T Natarajan learnt this the hard way.
He rose on the popularity charts when he was picked by Kings XI Punjab in the IPL auction in 2017 for `3 crore. Then on, he was in and out of Tamil Nadu team due to injuries. Coming from a humble background, the left-arm quick did not know much about injury prevention and took time to be back in shape. Now under Tamil Nadu trainer Ramji Srinivasan, Natarajan has learnt how to take care of himself.
This attitude was there for all to see as a rampaging Natarajan along with Rahil Shah took three wickets each to help Tamil Nadu restrict Kerala to 151 for nine on Day 2 of the Ranji Trophy Elite Group B match at MAC Stadium on Friday.
After Tamil Nadu were all out for 268 leaving Shahrukh Khan stranded on 92, Natarajan and M Mohammed bowled with pace and verve. While Natarajan could get good bounce and carry, Mohammed bowled in the corridor without much bounce or movement.
Natarajan castled opener Jalaj Saxena, beating him neck and crop with sheer pace. Rattled by the blow, the visitors went into a shell and started playing defensively. KB Arun Karthik thwarted the medium pacers but was done in by Rahil. None of the Kerala batsmen except P Rahul applied themselves and wickets fell at regular intervals. Natarajan also claimed Sanju Samson and Basil Thampi later.
“I was happy with the way I bowled. Injuries are a thing of the past. Our spinners bowled well. The wicket was good and had excellent bounce. I was able to pitch the ball in the right areas. We bowled as per plan and managed to keep them at around 150,’’ said Natarajan. But Tamil Nadu let the tail wag and from 111 for seven, Kerala added precious runs. “We didn’t attack them as much we did against their top and middle-order. Nevertheless, around 300-350 will be a good target to set on this track. We expect turn on the fourth day when it will be difficult to bat,’’ added the lanky speedster.
On the other hand, Rahil was almost unplayable from the pavilion end. Pleased with his show, he cited confidence as the reason behind his good showing. “It was more or less a continuation of last match (Bengal) where I got 10. The ball was coming nicely out of my hands and I kept it tight not giving too much width.” Rahul was the lone batsman to put up a fight.
“Pleased with my effort. The spinners were difficult to play. Our batsmen could have applied better. We will strive to perform better in the second essay,’’ said Rahul.
Tamil Nadu players celebrate a wicket at Chepauk on Friday