Dhoni asked me to use slow bouncers, cutters: Natarajan
Yorker specialist T Natarajan said Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s advice to bowl slow bouncers and cutters during his breakout IPL season last year helped him get better at his craft.
The 30-year-old Natarajan, who bowled a maximum 71 yorkers among all pacers in the last IPL, dismissed big names such as Dhoni and AB de Villiers during the 2020 edition.
“Speaking to somebody like Dhoni itself is a big thing. He spoke to me about fitness and encouraged me, saying that I will keep getting better with experience.
“He said, ‘Use slow bouncers, cutters and variations like that.’ It has been useful for me,” Natarajan was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
Prior to that, Dhoni was dismissed by the Sunrisers Hyderabad left-arm pacer, who also shone during India’s tour of Australia following a surprise call-up to the national team as one of the reserves who was later included in the main team.
Recalling that wicket of Dhoni in IPL 2020, Natarajan said: “I pitched one in the slot and he hit me for a big six with the ball travelling around 102 metres or something.
“The next ball I got his wicket and didn’t celebrate... I was just thinking about that previous ball.
“After coming back to the dressing room, though, I was happy. And after the game was over, I also had a chat with him.”
Another of his big wickets during the last IPL was of South African great De Villiers, who represents Royal Challengers Bangalore in the lucrative league.
On that same day, Natarajan also became a father.
“On one side there was my girl and on the other side, I got that wicket in an important knockout game. Romba santhosham (I was extremely happy), but I didn’t really tell the others (about the baby).
“I thought I will tell everyone else after we win the game, but my captain (David) Warner spoke about it, I think, at the post-match presentation,” the pacer recalled.
Natarajan’s team will be beginning their campaign in this IPL on Sunday when they face two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders.