Chennai: Taken to Australia as net bowler, pacer Thangarasu Natarajan ended up making history by debuting in all three formats and he said he didn’t expect to get the opportunity and was under pressure in his first match in India colours.
The 29-year-old Natarajan became the only India player to make a debut in all the three formats in the same tour. He made his India debut in the third ODI in Canberra on December 2.
I was keen to do my job. I didn”t expect to get an opportunity in the ODIs. When I was told that I will be playing there was pressure. I wanted to make use of the opportunity. Playing and taking a wicket was like a dream, Natarajan told reporters in Chinnappampatti in Salem district.
The left-arm pacer made his Test debut in the fourth and final match at Gabba which India won to seal a historic series win against Australia. Natarajan took three wickets in the match.
He said representing the country was a dream come true.
I cannot express my happiness in words about playing for India…It was like a dream. I got a lot of support from the coaches, players. They supported and motivated me a lot. I was able to perform well because of their backing, he said in Tamil.
Natarajan also said he enjoyed playing under the captaincy of Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, adding they both supported and encouraged him a lot.
(Virat) Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane handled me very well.. they had positive things to say and encouraged me a lot. I enjoyed playing under both of them, he added.
Meanwhile Indian opener Shubman Gill who had a fantastic third Test in Australia, said, ‘When I was young, I used to be petrified of bouncers. I used to be prepared for the chest-height balls way in advance. I used to practise drives a lot so I got mature in playing the pull shot with a straight bat. I also developed one more shot where I move back a little to play the cut. I used to feel scared of short deliveries so I always wanted to get away from the line of the ball to play the cut shot. These two-three shots were my favourite as a kid and now they have become a part of me’.
At times, these pre-emptive measures were just to appease his troubled mind. It wasn’t a big deal to be hit on the body by a pacer after all. This is a realisation that dawned upon Gill while he was playing an age group match in Mohali.
When you get hit by a ball, your fear disappears. You are only scared until you get a blow but once you get hit, you feel like it was pretty normal! And then you lose the fear entirely. I was nine years old when I was asked to play in a higher age group match. There was a bowler in the academy who was really fast. I was batting against him and was scared that I would get a bouncer to start with. So, I had pre-decided that I would just duck it, the 21-year-old reminisced.
He tried to bowl a bouncer but instead ended pitching it up. I realised this but still squatted and saw the ball hitting the edge of my bat to go the boundary. I realised he was not that fast after all. Soon I hit two-three more boundaries. This helped me raise my confidence level. This incident just eliminated all kinds of fear from my heart for leather balls and bouncers, he added.