'He's full of confidence. He wants to be on that flight to Australia': Gavaskar backs 31-year-old star for T20 World Cup
- Impressive IPL performances have led to cricket pundits pin-pointing many names for India's T20 World Cup squad.
Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday suffered their second consecutive defeat after Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway's batting exhibition and Mukesh Choudhary's four-fer helped Chennai Super Kings notch up a 13-run win at Pune. Gaikwad (99 off 57 balls) and Conway (85 not out off 55) took the bowlers to the cleaners as the pair put up a scintillating 182-run partnership, the highest opening stand of the season. (Follow IPL 2022 Coverage)
In reply, SRH fell short, reaching 189 for 6 in 20 overs despite late heroics from Nicholas Pooran (64 not out) and a 47-run sedate knock by skipper Kane Williamson. The Sunrisers bowling unit had an ordinary outing at the MCA Stadium with Natarajan being the lone wicket-taker. He returned 2/42 in his four overs.
Natarajan was a strong candidate for the last year's T20 World Cup but was sidelined with injuries all throughout 2021. With his ability to bowl precise yorkers and halt the run-flow at the death, he's made a superb comeback in the ongoing IPL, having plucked 17 wickets in nine games.
The Sunriser bowler looks in fine rhythm and legendary Sunil Gavaskar believes he's going to be in contention for Indian team in the upcoming T20 World Cup 2022.
"He's always been a yorker specialist but what we've seen in recent times is the way he's managing to move the ball late which deceives the batsmen. So, it's good to see that improvement in Natarajan," Gavaskar said on 'Cricket Live' on Star Sports before the SRH-CSK game.
"It's good to see him do well because for some time it seemed as if India had lost him. It's good to have him back in contention because he bowls very well, particularly in between 16th and 20th over. He'll be very much in contention (for Team India) for his ability to bowl well in the death overs," he added.
He is among the top contenders to grab the Purple Cap this year and Gavaskar underlined the pacer's confidence upon returning from injury. Natarajan had produced a phenomenal show in the 2020 IPL edition as well. He had picked up 16 wickets at an economy of 8.02 before injuries derailed his 2021.
"I think it's a matter of confidence. Last year, perhaps, he wasn't on top of his game because of the injury situation. Right now he's full of confidence, he's had a bit of a break, and he's fresh and raring to go. He recognises that there is a T20 World Cup in four months' time and he wants to be on that flight to Australia," Gavaskar further said.