The current tour of Australia has been nothing short of a dream for T Natarajan. Drafted in as a net bowler, the left-arm pacer could return to India with debuts in all three formats of the game if the management decides to field him in the XI for the third Test at Sydney in place of the injured Umesh Yadav.
Natarajan who got his T20 and ODI caps on this tour, is in the race with Navdeep Saini to bag the Test cap for the third Test starting January 7. But the left-armer’s coach feels the talented youngster has a long way to go before he can become a finished product in Test cricket.
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“See, I am very happy for him and want him to play Tests and wishing him success. But I am not saying he is going to be immediately successful. He has to learn and I am sure he is a quick learner. We have to see if he is ready for Test cricket. It will depend on how he grabs the opportunity (if it comes),” Tamil Nadu head coach Diwakar Vasu told The Indian Express.
Vasu has been working with Natarajan for the last couple of seasons and feels the left-arm quick needs to work on swinging the ball because at his pace he can’t terrorise the batsmen with bouncers.
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“He needs to swing the ball. He needs to bowl a more consistent line. He also needs to cut the ball (off the seam). Test cricket is not easy. Not many of these slower balls and yorkers are going to be effective as far as Test cricket is concerned. And I don’t think that at his pace (around 130kph), bouncers could be a (wicket-taking) option. I think (if he plays), he needs to bowl up, work on his swing, work on his angles. That would be a better option for him,” the Tamil Nadu coach observed.
Vasu also pointed out that Natarajan can be used as the third seamer who can support the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj.
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“Somebody who is making his Test debut, who is not express and who doesn’t swing the ball (much); you cannot expect him to be the strike bowler. There are other strike bowlers. He can be used as a bowler who comes in and bowls, and takes a couple of wickets.
“He (Natarajan) is a very good trier and I’m sure that working with (Bharat) Arun (India’s bowling coach), he will learn quickly. As a left-arm seamer, he has that natural angle (the ball that slants across the right-hander) and with the red ball, he could bring the ball in also. But it’s a learning process for him,” Vasu said.