Sydney: India skipper Virat Kohli has earmarked T Natarajan for next year’s T20 World Cup, saying that he provides variety with his left-arm pace bowling, something India have been lacking.
Though the T20 World Cup is still over 10 months away, there are a few areas like the lack of a left-arm option that India would like to fix.
“Special mention to Natarajan — because in the absence of Shami and Bumrah he has been the guy who has stood up and really delivered under pressure. Outstanding for the fact that he is playing the first few games at the international level, looks very composed, he is very sure of what he wants to do,” said Kohli while speaking to reporters after the third T20 International which India lost by 12 runs.
“Natarajan is a very hard-working guy, a humble guy and you feel happy for the guys working hard for results and making the team win. I wish him all the best. Hope he continues to work hard on his game and keep getting better because a left-arm bowler is always an asset for any team. And if he can bowl that well and consistently, it will be a great thing for us heading into World Cup next year,” he said.
Kohli said he was impressed with his side’s performance in the just-concluded two limited-overs series, especially with those from players like Natarajan, who haven’t played any international cricket before.
India, who lost the ODI series 2-1 but came back to win the T20 International series, enjoyed a run of three unbeaten matches as they won the last ODI and the first two T20 games.
“We have played some really good cricket over the last 11-12 T20s and the fact that this was the squad that had players who haven’t had so much exposure at the international level, a few guys who are playing the first few games, from that point of view it was really a nice performance. Especially after losing first two ODIs, we came back nicely in the third and showed belief and we carried that momentum forward fighting back again the first two T20s. Tonight’s game was close too,” said Kohli.
The India captain said that the takeaway from this series is that the players are fighting till the end and not giving up. “The takeaway is that the guys are not giving up and someone is putting his hand up every time, making an impact for the team which is very, very important.”
Kohli said that the communication from him and the team management to the team has been to play according to situations.
“The communication from me and the team has been simple. We are going to back individuals, all we expect is that they go to the field and play according to situations,” he said.