CHENNAI: The last four months or so has been straight out of a comic book for T Natarajan. Debuts in all three formats, some high-class bowling at the death and a genuine option for India in both white-ball formats going forward. So it's not a surprise to hear the southpaw say this is the 'best phase of my career'.
"I am in the best phase of my career. Never thought that I will play for India in all three formats. I am also in a good frame of mind and I am keen to contribute to Sunrisers Hyderabad's success,'' he told TNIE.
The left-arm pacer, who came into the limelight with his ability to bowl yorkers, has since earned the praise of the likes of Virat Kohli and David Warner. Even if that has created an expectation, Natarajan says it's good that people expect him to deliver. "It is good that people expect me to deliver. I do not put unnecessary pressure on me. I go about my task in a professional manner and do what the captain wants me to do. But one thing I ensure is that I prepare well before a game keeping in mind all the situations,'' he insisted.
One thing that Natarajan will find different is playing in 'home conditions'. He hasn't done that since last August. But the 30-year-old feels it's good to be playing in 'home conditions'. "It is good to be playing at home conditions. But T20 is a different ball game. Kolkata Knight Riders (their first match) is a strong side. So we will first see the wicket and the conditions before the game and then go about the task. Playing at Chepauk is definitely a big plus,'' said Natarajan.
With the likes of Kane Williamson, Johnny Baristow, Jason Holder, Rashid Khan, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and skipper Warner, Hyderabad are a formidable side, at least on paper. "We have a good squad that ticks all the boxes. We have some quality batsman in our ranks and good variety in our attack. In T20 it is all about how good you play on a given day. So I am confident that with the team we have, we can put up a good show in the tournament. The key for success is to take one match at a time and then consolidate,'' said Natarajan.
The lanky pacer who idolises Mitchell Johnson credits Warner and Kohli for his growth as a bowler of international standard. "Both Warner and Kohli have encouraged me. Warner has given me the freedom to bowl as I wish. He does not impose his views on me. Even small things like field adjustments he gives me the freedom to do what I want. This helps a bowler think on his own and improve,'' revealed Natarajan.
He also credits VVS Laxman and Muttiah Muralitharan for his growth as a bowler. "I have had long chats with Laxman and Muralitharan. Both often suggest measures that would help me be more effective. Both often discuss match situations with me and advise me on how to bowl in a given situation. I am able to bowl well at the death because of their inputs and also my ability to improvise as per the match situation,'' said Natarajan.
He's also mindful of the fact that he has develop more weapons. "Yes I will definitely try improve my overall game as Irfan Pathan (he cannot rely on yorkers also) had said. The learning process never stops. More the number of matches I play, my game will automatically improve,'' he said.