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YORKER KING T.NATARAJAN


T.NATARAJAN
T.Natarajan

Full Name: Thangarasu Natarajan

Born: May 27, 1991

Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)

Nationality: Indian

Role: Bowler/Left-arm medium-fast, Left-handed Batsman

Relation (s): Shantha Natarajan (Mother)

Natarajan’s family isn’t financially well-off. While his father worked as a porter at a railway station, his mother still runs a road-side snack stall. As the eldest of five siblings, including three sisters, Natarajan was always worried about taking care of his family.

Is Natarajan selected for Indian team?

On 30 December 2020, Natarajan was added to India’s Test squad ahead of the third match against Australia. He made his Test debut against Australia on 15 January 2020, dismissing Matthew Wade for his first international Test wicket.

T. Natarajan’s journey from Chinnappampatti

“There was very little money. As the eldest of five siblings, I have a brother and three sisters, there was a lot of responsibility on me,” he said.

Today, the 25-year-old Natarajan of sharp speed and the left-armer’s angle, is the brightest pace bowling prospect from Tamil Nadu.

As Tamil Nadu prepares for its Ranji clash against Baroda here on Saturday, much of its bowling hopes will be pinned on Natarajan’s thrust.

His is already a remarkable story at several levels.

Till he was 20, Natarajan played only with tennis ball, did not represent either school or college in the game, and had not even seen a proper cricket ground.

It was only when he was goaded by a well wisher from village, A. Jayapraksh, that Natarajan journeyed to Chennai and first played in the Tamil Nadu Cricket Academy (TNCA) fourth division league representing BSNL in 2010-11.

“It was all new to me. I must thank Jayapraksh anna for his encouragement,” said Natarajan.

He caught attention with his telling yorker. “I think this is because of my tennis ball cricket background. I strove for air speed because that is one way you could beat the bat with the tennis ball.”

Natarajan quickly climbed the rungs. He played for Vijay in 2012-13 in the first division before moving to Jolly Rovers a year later.

The dream kept getting bigger for Natarajan. He made his Ranji debut against Bengal at the Eden Gardens in 2015.

Then, it collapsed. Natarajan was reported for a suspect action. “It was a shock for me. Until then, nobody had said anything about my action.”Growing up in a sleepy village 36 km off Salem, Thangarasu Natarajan, till he was 20, played only with tennis ball and had not even seen a proper cricket ground. But ahead of Tamil Nadu’s Ranji game against Baroda, much of its bowling hopes will be pinned on the 25-year-old pacer.

His father is a daily wage worker in a saree manufacturing unit while mother sells snacks at a small roadside shop. Growing up in Chinnappampatti, a sleepy village 36 km off Salem, life was a struggle for Thangarasu Natarajan.

Former State cricketer Sunil Subramanian, he said, played a significant role in modifying his action at the TNCA Academy. Then there were inputs from former Tamil Nadu players D. Vasu and M. Venkataramana, who were part of Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) panel to rectify illegal bowling action.

Mentally, the ordeal must have been devastating for Natarajan but he rose again.

The cricketer said, “There were people who stood by me. At Jolly Rovers, Bharat Reddy anna and Jayakumar sir were always there for me.”

He added, “I have worked on my run-up and loading. It is straighter, more in front now.”

Natarajan, with his new action, was exceptional in the Tamil Nadu Premier League where he struck consistently with his mix of short-pitched deliveries and toe crushers at around 135 kmph.

Back in the Tamil Nadu side, the lanky Natarajan has been working on the delivery that nips back into the right-hander. “L. Balaji anna [Tamil Nadu’s bowling coach] has been guiding me,” he said.

“I am bowling to a good rhythm,” said the man who has come up with four-wicket innings hauls against Railways and Uttar Pradesh this season.

Natarajan is on the fast lane to success. Things are looking up for his family too. His is indeed a heart-warming story.

Know the struggle story of Indian Fast Bowler, T. Natarajan

Among the bowlers who impressed in the 13th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) played in UAE, India’s fast bowler T. Natarajan is also named. This 29-year-old left-arm pacer from Tamil Nadu has taken 16 wickets in 16 matches in this season of IPL. Natarajan, who has the ability to throw a six-ball yorker in an over, has also got an Australia ticket and fulfilled his dream in the third ODI being played in Canberra One day on Wednesday. He landed the first international match for Team India wearing a blue jersey.

The four changes made by Team India captain Virat Kohli in the Canberra ODI include T Natarajan’s debut. However, the journey of his life is not less than a film story. His father used to work as a daily wage labourer in Chinnapampatti village, 36 km from Salem city in Tamil Nadu, while his mother used to sell chicken in a roadside chicken shop. In first-class cricket, Natarajan has 64 wickets in 20 matches, while he has taken 16 wickets in 15 List A matches. He has named 35 wickets in 38 T20 bolts.

MAN BEHIND THE SALEM STAR

       “Jayaprakash Anna Illanna Naan Illai (Without my brother Jayaprakash, I wouldn’t be where I am),” is how Thangarasu Natarajan described his mentor A Jayaprakash during a chat with TOI when the IPL was on in October. It’s something on the lines of elder brother Ajit Tendulkar’s influence on Sachin during his growing up years — a constant support system — but we didn’t get to hear so much about it from the Little Master in public during his playing days. Natarjan is different, he has never shied away from showing his gratitude for his ‘big brother’.

Be it on his Sunrisers Hyderabad jersey (JP Nattu), his official Instagram account (natarajan_jayaprakash) or a tattoo on his left-hand — Natarajan, who burst into the international scene with a formidable debut during the ongoing India-Australia series, always goes the extra yard to show respect for the man who guided him. His mother T Shantha calls Jayaprakash her own child. “My son and JP both have remained very good friends and I wish they remain like this even after our death. JP is like my first son,” Shantha said.

AUS v IND: T. Natarajan, India’s smiling assassin

Kapil Dev calls him “My Hero.” V. V. S. Laxman is convinced India has found a “confident” bowler. Fans are loving his controlled aggression. Yes, T. Natarajan, the smiling assassin, is the bowler to celebrate ahead of the Test series against Australia.

Without wanting to compare, there are shades of Irfan Pathan and R. P. Singh; both left-armers had arrived with a bang. Pakistan great Wasim Akram would have loved working with Natarajan because such bowlers always excited him. Bowlers who could rattle the batsmen with a bouncer, yorker or the one that slants away.

Remember the dismissal of AB de Villiers during the Indian Premier League (IPL) recently when Natarajan got the ball to leave the in-form batsman, who ended up edging the ball. That was Natarajan at his peak.

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