Team India "really missed" the skills of left-arm fast bowler T Natarajan during the T20 World Cup in UAE last year, said former India coach Ravi Shastri. Natarajan was unable to participate in the World Cup due to a knee and shoulder injury sustained during a home series against England in March 2021.
Shastri described the left-arm seamer as a "specialist death bowler" who can frequently bowl yorkers while also surprising hitters with his velocity.
"Very happy for him. We missed him in the World Cup. He would've been a certainty had he been fit. 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 on ESPNCricinfo.
After a 12-month layoff due to injury, Natarajan made a good comeback to competitive cricket. He took 2 for 26 in four overs for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) against the Lucknow Super Giants in an IPL 2022 match at the DY Patil stadium in Mumbai.
Natarajan had gone to Australia with the Indian team in 2020-21 and made his debut in all three formats down under.
Natarajan was also a lucky charm for the Indian team, according to Shastri, who was the head coach during the historic Australia tour in which India defeated the hosts 2-1 in the Test series.
"Every game I've picked him we won. In his debut in T20, India win. In his debut in Test cricket, India win. From a net bowler, he played those other two formats," Shastri added.
Natarajan last played for India in an ODI against England in March 2021, but was forced to withdraw owing to injury. India's failure to qualify for the World Cup semi-finals was due to his absence from the tournament.
In the IPL mega auction, SRH bought Natarajan back for 4 crores.