The suspension of the Indian Premier League 2021 midway through the season turned out to be a blessing in disguise for T Natarajan. The Sunrisers Hyderabad left-arm seamer featured in only two games this season before he was forced to opt out to undergo knee surgery in April this year.
The 30-year-old from Salem made his international debut in all three formats during the tour of Australia. Natarajan even featured in the famous Gabba Test and picked up three crucial wickets.
Natarajan, who is currently at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru for rehabilitation, will miss the fifth edition of the Tamil Nadu Premier League (July 19-August 15). However, he wants to feature in the remainder of the IPL 2021 in the UAE and make a strong case for his selection for this year's T20 World Cup.
"I am progressing well after the surgery. I have started training slowly. I will start bowling at full tilt in the nets by the end of this month. My focus right now is on recovering fully and returning by the time the IPL restarts," Natarajan told the New Indian Express.
"The fact that the IPL got suspended when it did has turned out to be a good thing in the end. None of it was in my hands of course."
The left-armer has picked up 44 wickets in as many T20s and impressed everyone with his different variations. Natarajan has been superb for SRH at death overs and that's the major reason why the Indian team management wants him fit and ready. India have some outstanding fast bowlers but they still need a reliable left-arm pacer.
"I am not thinking about the T20 World Cup right now. I am thinking more about my recovery. If I do well in the IPL, the chance to be selected for the T20 World Cup will come on its own. That is my belief. But for that, my recovery needs to be spot on."