The rise of fast bowler T Natarajan will put pressure on Mohammad Shami to retain his place in India’s T20I team, reckons former cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar.
In his T20I debut against Australia on Friday (December 4) at the Manuka Oval, Natarajan returned with the figures of 3 for 30 in his 4 overs as India defeated the hosts by 13 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Earlier this week, the left-arm pacer made his ODI debut in the final match of the series at the same venue in which he picked a couple of wickets in the victorious cause.
"What he has done is he has put Mohammad Shami under pressure as a T20I bowler. Now India will be really tempted to have him along with Bumrah as one of his seamers.
"This is a guy who can bowl at the death. If you have Bumrah and Natarajan, it just puts pressure on Shami because Chahar is from a different school of swing," Manjrekar said on Sony Six after India's win in the T20I series opener.
Thanks to his brilliance in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, T Natarajan caught the attention of the selectors and forced his way into the national side.
The 29-year-old plied his trade for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the recently held IPL in UAE. He claimed 16 wickets in the cash-rich event at an average of 31.50.
"It’s a great story purely because this is a guy who has come out of nowhere. Today, by playing his first T20I and bowling so well there was a wicket he took off a length ball of Maxwell. He is not a bowler who will get you wickets only with the yorkers when the batsmen are trying to slog you.
"I just find him amazing. A couple of years ago, who would have thought? He would not have imagined himself in his wildest dreams that he would be challenging the big boys for a place in the Indian team," Manjrekar said.
(Inputs from India Today)