IPL 2022: Changed action helping Natarajan add pace | Cricket News

CHENNAI: T Natarajan is in the midst of a dream spell for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the ongoing IPL 15. The 31-year-old left-arm pacer missed a major portion of last season due to knee injury and Covid, but has made a strong comeback and has so far taken 12 wickets from 6 games for the Kane Williamson-led side. He has troubled the batsmen with pace and delivered yorkers consistently at the death.
However, Natarajan admitted that there were nerves ahead of his first IPL game this season. “I was (nervous) as I had been away from competitive cricket for the last few months. But once I began to bowl and got into my rhythm, things fell into place,” Natarajan told TOI on Monday.
Natarajan played just two games for SRH during the first leg in India last year before injuring his left knee which required surgery. He was subsequently hit by Covid which ruled him out of the UAE leg of last year’s IPL. Natarajan featured in Tamil Nadu‘s triumphant Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 campaign in November 2021 but issues with his knee flared up and he missed the Vijay Hazare Trophy and the Ranji Trophy.
“I had to undergo rehab at the NCA in Bengaluru for a few months and then trained in Chennai and at my hometown (Salem). I wanted to use this time to not only work on my fitness but also on my game skills,” Natarajan mentioned.
Not only has he added more pace to his bowling, Natarajan has also tweaked his run-up. “I have made subtle changes in my run-up to the crease. Lot of running during the rehab phase has made me fitter. As a result, I am able to bowl a yard quicker than I did before,” Natarajan pointed out.
During his comeback trail, Natarajan worked with trainers Rajinikanth and Thulasi, SRH physio Shyam Sundar and also with former Karnataka pacer Sreenath Aravind.
“The rehab phase has taught me to accept life as it is and always stay in the present. I have had wonderful people like my mentor Jayaprakash (JP) anna, my friends and family who helped me stay positive during this phase. While the trainers monitored my fitness progress, Sreenath helped me to make those changes especially with regards to my loading and landing,” said Natarajan.
The presence of pace ace Dale Steyn as SRH fast-bowling coach, according to Natarajan, has come as a breath of fresh air. “He is very approachable and offers specific inputs and plans ahead of a game. Steyn’s presence has been a big boost for the SRH bowling group,” he said. Natarajan believes SRH pace attack has become a potent force in the tournament. “There is a lot of camaraderie among us. The experienced Bhuvneshwar Kumar and tearaway pacer Umran Malik bring a lot to the table,” he said.
With the season going strongly, is India comeback on Natarajan’s mind? “I am not thinking too far ahead. If I do well consistently, things will eventually happen. For now, the aim is to keep doing well and win matches for SRH,” said Natarajan.


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