Chennai: T Natarajan’s journey from an unknown village in Tamil Nadu to India playing under the floodlights in Australia has caught the attention of the cricketing world. Given his humble origins, many obstacles have to be overcome to keep the left-handed paceman dreaming of playing cricket at a high level.
The most challenging of those hurdles – Natarajan asserts that he can never forget this day – occurred just as his career began. In January 2015, Natarajan had to be remembered for his Ranji Trophy debut against the Bengal at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, but the special moment became bittersweet as he was reported to be left-handed. This forced Natarajan to go back to the drawing board and start from scratch. “I can never forget the moment I was reported for suspected action. After that I had to struggle for a whole year,” Natarajan said recently.

Natarajan spent the next 12-15 months reconsidering his action, in close observation of former Tamil Nadu left-arm spinner Sunil Subramanian, who was the head coach of the TNCA academy at the time. According to Sunil’s account, the 29-year-old bowled 13,000 balls away from the public glare and worked tirelessly in an attempt to correct his action.
“Natarajan’s point is that at the time of loading, his bowling arm was moving away from the body rather than near the chin (which is considered ideal). Once the bowling arm starts to move away, the rotation does not move the hand. If so, there is a little bit of flexibility, ‚ÄĚSunil told TOI.

At TNCA, Sunil and others went to work quickly with the intention of watching Natarajan’s action. “We went step-by-step and focused on every aspect of their bowling action. We just started with a run-up, then we did a 2-step drill where they load the chin down and finish their action. It’s a couple months. Then, they aim. “It was a long and arduous process. It was a trial by fire, but in hindsight, we were probably unknowingly preparing him for the international cricket,” said the 53-year-old, who worked as the managing director of the Indian team.
The recent history of bowlers forced to correct their actions after being reported suggests that this is not a straightforward process. For example, it will be difficult for Saeed Ajmal and Sunil Narine to have the same effect on returning bowlers. But at that difficult point, Natarajan’s mental courage is conspicuous.

“For the first 6 months of his career, I was more of an emotional mentor because he was very weak at the time, but his visual acuity, mental strength and cricket acumen helped him pull,” Sunil added.
While Sunil was busy examining Natarajan’s action, he was able to gauge the difficulty of selecting left-handed yorkers.
“When you drop your front foot to deliver the ball, the back of your bowling arm is usually upward and then you complete your action. The back of Natarajan’s palm faces to the side or down to an important part and the wrist releases. The best in the business, even though bowling fast, is finding it difficult to pick their yorkers. ”


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