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IPL 2021: Dhoni asked me to bowl slow bouncers, cutters and it’s been useful: Natarajan

PTI


Last updated on April 7, 2021 at 05.00 pm
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Left-arm yorker specialist T Natarajan says former India captain 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 season.

“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’.

Before that, Dhoni was dismissed by the Sunrisers Hyderabad 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, he said, “I pitched one in the slot and he hit me for a big six — 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. After finishing the match, I also had a chat with him.”

Another of his big wickets during the IPL was of South African great de Villiers, who represents Royal Challengers Bangalore in the lucrative league. On the same day, he 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),” Natarajan said.

Natrajan’s Sunrisers Hyderabad will open their campaign in the IPL on Sunday by taking on Kolkata Knight Riders.