Former India captain and World Cup winner Kapil Dev has revealed that pacer T Natarajan was his ‘hero from the Indian Premier League 2020.
During a conversation with jounalist Ayaz Memon on Day 2 of the 18th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, Kapil Dev stated that he was extremely impressed with the 29-year-old pacer for sticking to the basics of bowling accurate yorkers in an ever-changing dynamic that is fast bowling.
“Natarajan was my hero of the IPL. Young buy was fearless and bowled so many yorkers. The yorker is the best ball, not only today but even in the last 100 years,” Kapil said.
Natarajan came up as one of the finds of the IPL 2020, his tally of 16 wickets turning out influential in Sunrisers Hyderabad’s road to the knockout stages for the third stright year. Natarajan scalped important wickets all through the tournament, such as that of Virat Kohli and his teammate AB de Villiers. The pacer was rewarded with a maiden national call-up when his name was included in the T20I squad for the series against Australia.
That Natarajan could pursue cricket is itself a story of great courage and resolve. His father was a porter at the railway station, his mother was a daily wage labourer. But none of that stopped the youngster from making his mark in the local cricket.
Then moving a step forward to the lower divisions in Chennai cricket. Then he had to overcome an injury and work on his bowling after it was pointed out to him that his action may be suspect.
Then he played in the Tamil Nadu Premier League, which is where he was seen by the IPL franchise Kings XI Punjab. He was bought for Rs 3 crore by the Punjab team in the 2017 auction. He didn’t perform well enough for KXIP to retain him in 2018, which is when he moved to SRH.