CHENNAI: India’s latest pace bowling find, T Natarajan, on Sunday said he was not sure of debuting in even one format, let alone all three and made history during the team’s tour of Australia.
When he was picked for the fourth and final Test against Australia in Brisbane, Natarajan became the first Indian to debut in all three formats during the same tour.
“I was keen to do my job. But I didn’t expect to get an opportunity in the ODIs, I was not expecting to make my debut in Australia,” Natarajan told reporters in Chinnappampatti in Salem district.
“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 took three wickets in the series-deciding Test, playing a part in India’s incredible win.
“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 said he enjoyed playing under the captaincy of both Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, adding they both supported and encouraged him a lot.
01:26T Natarajan gets king like welcome in his native village
“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 said.
He made his ODI debut in the third and final match of the three-match series and picked up two wickets with Marnus Labuschagne being his maiden international scalp.
Natarajan said he got emotional when Kohli handed the trophy to him after the team won the T20 series.
“When Kohli handed over the trophy to me after the T20 series win, I had tears in my eyes,” he added.
Asked about sharing the dressing room with international players, Natarajan said it was tough initially but he was able to pick up many things from them.
“Having played in the IPL and played alongside many Indian and foreign players helped as that experience was useful. I could communicate with them and learn from them. First, it was tough but as things went on, I was able to pick up many things,” he added.
He said Australian opener David Warner, his captain at Sunrisers Hyderabad, had good things to say about him.
“Warner said he was very proud of me. He was happy to see my progress. He told me during the match that you are very lucky and told me that I was doing well because my daughter had been born,” the Tamil Nadu pacer said.
Natarajan, whose daughter was born while he was playing the IPL in UAE, said he did miss seeing her but playing for the country was a matter of pride for his family.
Natarajan, a late bloomer at 29, said he first aimed at playing for Tamil Nadu.
“My first aim was to play for Tamil Nadu, step by step everything happened, it was like a dream. Hard work is the key, it will take one place. I thank Almighty for everything.”
Natarajan thanked his family, friends, Salem’s district cricket association and current Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) secretary RS Ramasaamy for supporting him.
He skirted a question on the racial abuse faced by his India pace colleague Mohammed Siraj in Australia, saying the seniors handled the issue.”