Teams Played For
Tamil Nadu, Dindigul Dragons, Punjab Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Lyca Kovai Kings, India
Touted as the Mustafizur Rahman of India, T Natarajan came into prominence with his abilities to bowl Yorkers and cutters at will. Just like any other kid in India, Natarajan played tennis ball cricket and it was from there where he graduated into a Yorker specialist. He hails from a very small town in Salem and his talent was first noticed by one of his village well-wishers. He suggested Natarajan try his hand at professional cricket and from there he started playing local competitive cricket. Soon after Natarajan shifted to Chennai and joined a cricket club to sharpen his skills.
His first moment of recognition came in the Tami Nadu Cricket Association’s fourth division league when he represented the BSNL team. He soon graduated to 1st division cricket and played for the Vijay Cricket Club for a year. A move to Jolly Rovers happened pretty quickly and suddenly the rise to first-class cricket happened rather quickly.
He made his first-class debut for Tamil Nadu in January 2015 and impressed in his debut. He bagged 3 important wickets and impressed with his immaculate line and length. Despite his impressive first-class debut, the main breakthrough for Natarajan came in 2016 when he proved to be a match-winner for the Dindigul Dragons in the Tamil Nadu Premier League. He bowled some exceptional Yorkers and cutter and the following year, he became an overnight million dollar baby.
If there ever is a rag to riches story, it has to be Natarajan. Hailing from a very humble background, it was a fairytale for Natarajan after getting bagged by KXIP for 3 crores. He failed to impress and bagged just a couple of wickets in 6 matches. All of a sudden, the name, fame, and adulations started taking a U-turn for Natarajan.
However, he was a consistent performer in the domestic circuit. He had to miss the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy season owing to an elbow injury. Despite his injury worries he was picked by the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the 2018 edition but had to warm the benches all through the tournament. Natarajan has looked a class apart in the 2020 edition of the IPL where he bowled the most numbers of yorkers in the coveted tournament. His death bowling was exceptional and he has become the talisman of Men in Orange after the departure of injury-laden Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Natarajan’s dominance in the IPL grabbed the eyeballs of the national selectors when he was picked as one of four additional bowlers to travel with the Indian cricket team for their tour to Australia. His childhood dream came true when he was named in the playing XI for the 3rd ODI against Australia on 2nd December 2020. He scalped two wickets but went for 70 runs in 10 overs, despite that India won the last ODI of the series. Two days later he got the maiden T20 cap in the first match against Australia and bowled a match-winning spell to snatch victory from the hands of Aussies by picking up 3 wickets for 30 runs in his 4 over quota. In a month he made debuts in all three formats and impressed the cricketing fraternity with his searing left-arm pace bowling.
The left-arm pacer has a sharp speed and his bowling angle has made him one of the brightest upcoming pacers alongside Jasprit Bumrah. His contributions to the Indian national team in the showpiece world tournaments will be crucial for the Men in Blue.
(As of March 2021)