The India left-armer looked back at his fairytale Australia tour, where he made his debut in all three formats
“I’m so happy right now. There’s no limit to it and I just can’t explain that feeling.”
This was India left-arm seamer T Natarajan‘s reaction to his rousing reception at his hometown Chinnappampatti, near Salem in Tamil Nadu, after returning from Australia, where he made his debut in all three formats and played his part in the historic Gabba Test win.
Natarajan, who had seemingly driven down from Bengaluru to Chinnappampatti on Thursday, was greeted by hoardings, drumrolls and firecrackers on Thursday. After being welcomed back by his mother Shantha, his father Thangarasu and other family members, Natarajan was carried home on a horse-drawn chariot, with everyone in Chinnappampatti wanting a piece of him.
Several people thronged Natarajan’s home for selfies and some even presented him portraits of himself.
On Friday, Natarajan recalled his grand homecoming at a press conference in Salem. “I never expected to get this kind of a reception. I have to thank the people in my village,” Natarajan said. “It was an unforgettable experience in my life and I dreamt of making it big, hoping to bring recognition to Salem. It’s all god’s grace, and I’m so happy right now. There’s no limit to it and I just can’t describe that feeling. I just feel like being selected for the Australia tour was a gift for me.”
Natarajan was initially picked as a net bowler for the Australian tour, but, as it turned out, he became the first India player to make his international debut across all three formats during the same tour. After an injury to mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy he was added to the T20I squad and then hours before the ODI series opener he was included in that squad as well, as injury cover. He made his international debut in the third ODI in Canberra and took 2 for 70 in an India win.
“He [David Warner] has tweeted about me and I think he feels proud about me. He has captained me at Sunrisers and during a match he told me that I’m very lucky and told me everything has happened after my daughter was born.”
Natarajan said he felt pressure after he heard the news of his sudden call-up, but at the same time he was keen to prove his talent at the top level.
“I just wanted to do my job,” Natarajan said. “I was suddenly given an opportunity – I didn’t expect to make my one-day debut there [Canberra]. Suddenly they told me that I would be playing and that was pressure for me. But I wanted to make the best use of this opportunity, so I shifted my focus to that. That [first] wicket and everything that followed seems like a dream to me.”
The dismissal of Marnus Labuschagne was only the beginning of the dream. Natarajan then made his T20I debut, also in Canberra, returning 3 for 30. In all, he picked up a chart-topping six wickets in three games at an economy rate of 6.91.
The T20I series ended with regular captain Virat Kohli handing the trophy to Natarajan and the Test series would end with stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane passing the Border-Gavaskar Trophy to him as well.
“I never expected it,” Natarajan said. “I didn’t expect Virat Kohli to come over and hand the trophy to me; I was just standing on the side. Kann Kalangitten [I teared up]. When a legend like Kohli came in and gave the trophy over to me it was a great feeling – I can’t describe it.”
Natarajan reckoned that being part of the IPL for four years and exchanging notes with seniors and overseas players smoothed his path to international cricket. He was first snapped up by Kings XI Punjab for INR 3 crore in 2017 and, after spending two seasons on the bench at Sunrisers Hyderabad, he became their gun death bowler in IPL 2020 in the UAE.
“I’ve been part of the IPL for four years,” he said. “At the IPL, I’ve mingled with many foreign players and many Indian players, and communicated with the coaches. Plus, taking tips from the foreign players and the bowlers was useful. Initially, it was difficult for me, but things became better thereafter.”
During the Australia tour, Natarajan got to lock horns with his Sunrisers captain David Warner.
“He has tweeted about me and I think he feels proud about me. He has captained me at Sunrisers and during a match he told me that I’m very lucky and told me everything has happened after my daughter was born. He has had these friendly and emotional chats with me.”
When Natarajan was enjoying a breakout IPL in the UAE, he was probably hoping to return home for the impending birth of his child. However, after being picked in the India white-ball squads, he chose to hang around in Australia for the Test leg as well and improbably made his Test debut in Brisbane.
“It was quite difficult [missing the birth of my child], yes,” he said. “But, for my wife and my family, me representing the country gave them a lot of happiness.”
Having been rested for the upcoming Test series at home against England, Natarajan can now look forward to spending more time with his daughter and rest of the family before the white-ball leg begins on March 12.
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
BCCI opposed to ICC’s new bidding policy for world events
The Indian board would prefer for tournaments to be allocated, as they have been before
The BCCI has again expressed its unhappiness at the ICC’s new bidding policy to find hosts for its global events in the 2023-20131 cycle. The reservations are not new but were reiterated at a meeting for ICC members on Wednesday.
The meeting wasn’t a formal ICC Board meeting, but one with relevant members with a single point on the agenda – the events hosting process from 2023. The BCCI was represented by its current president Sourav Ganguly, the first big meeting he has attended since he was hospitalized twice recently after suffering a heart attack in January.
The decision to get members to bid to host events was a marked departure from how event locations were decided upon in the previous eight-year cycle: all the major global men’s events were essentially divvied up by the Big Three of Australia, India and England between themselves. On the surface, it would seem none of those three boards are especially happy.
In February last year the ICC sent out an email to all members, Full, Associate and Affiliate, asking them to tender expressions of interest for any of the 20 global tournaments – in both men’s and women’s cricket – listed in the 2023-31 cycle. To lobby interest Manu Sawhney, the ICC’s chief executive officer, went on a whistle-stop tour visiting a number of countries but not India. The objective, Sawhney told countries, was to make cricket a more global sport. A number of members have expressed interest, including the PCB, who have said in the past they would put in joint bids with the Emirates Cricket Board. However, none of the BCCI, ECB and Cricket Australia expressed any interest.
Issues with the bidding process are part of a broader battle between the Big Three and ICC management, and some of the other Full Members; the BCCI, ECB and CA are also opposed to the ICC plan for an extra global event in the next cycle, which will ensure one global tournament is played every year from 2023 to 2031.
The BCCI’s main objection has been that when the original decision approving the extra set of events was taken, during an ICC Board meeting in October 2019, the Indian cricket board did not have an elected administration. That meeting, though, was attended by former BCCI secretary Amitabh Choudhury, who did not have the consent from the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators, which was supervising the BCCI until October 2019.
Nonetheless, at the time the BCCI chief executive officer Rahul Johri, sent out an email to the ICC stating the final decision on an extra event in the 2023-31 cycle should be put on hold until an elected administration took seat. As for the number of events including the extra world tournament, Johri noted that it would have “wide ranging” repercussions on the bilateral calendar and should not be taken in a rush.
Ganguly’s administration has carried forward that objection. Before Ganguly, Arun Dhumal, the BCCI treasurer, too, is understood to have raised similar objections at the ICC chief executive committee meeting recently. Although Ganguly was unavailable, a senior BCCI official confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that India remained opposed to the ICC decision.
The root of the BCCI’s objection does not lie completely in a potential expansion of the hosting market, though that is part of it. But there is also an objection to being asked to bid. They would prefer for events to be allocated, as they have been before. According to the official India, Australia and England should have been given priority for the marquee events. “Why should one bid?,” the official asked. “Why is there a bidding process when India, England and Australia have not even bought the bid document? Cricket is not like Olympics or football where 100 countries are vying for the interest? Out of the top 10 countries there are just three who have the infrastructure and skillsets to host it. It has to come by rotation. You cannot ignore these three countries and think of hosting it in smaller countries.”
At the negotiation table Ganguly has been more open to potential expansion, to explore both old and new markets. The BCCI, for instance, would be supportive of a men’s World Cup held in Africa, co-hosted by a number of countries including South Africa. It also is backing a global T20 event in the Americas. But it does want to ensure that some of the marquee events are hosted in old and established markets like India.
The official also pointed out that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the wider economic landscape across the globe and that would have an impact on smaller countries bidding for an event. The biggest challenges, the official pointed out, would be paying a hosting fee to the ICC, creating the infrastructure and sustaining it. Even bigger countries like the USA might struggle where cricket remains a minority sport despite the large diaspora.
Despite strong reservations from the BCCI, an ICC Board member said that the differences were not insurmountable. Another person, privy to the developments, said that the ECB had not bought any bid document also because it was said to be concerned by one pre-condition which called for total government support in hosting a world event. The ICC has not been satisfied with financial returns from the three world events hosted in England: the 2017 Champions Trophy and the women’s ODI World Cup and the 2019 men’s World Cup.
India’s own position as a potential host is not straightforward, given that a long-running tax dispute between the board and the ICC is yet to be resolved.
Discussions are expected to continue until the next ICC board meeting in March.
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo
Recent Match Report – South Aust vs West Aust 14th Match 2020/21
Travis Head earlier completed his maiden first-class double century in a huge South Australia total
Western Australia 2 for 192 (Bancroft 106*) trail South Australia 8 for 510 dec (Head 223, Hunt 10) by 318 runs
Cameron Bancroft scored his second Sheffield Shield century of the season to lead a strong Western Australia reply to a huge South Australia total based around Travis Head‘s maiden first-class double hundred.
Bancroft, who made the most of a life on 13, reached his hundred shortly before the close as he and Cameron Green guided the home side into a position from where they will feel comfortable avoiding any potential follow-on then closing in on the Redbacks’ score.
The third-wicket stand was worth 120 at stumps and ensured Western Australia did not suffer further setbacks after Sam Whiteman was caught at slip off a beauty from Dan Worrall then Shaun Marsh clipped a full toss from the part-time offspin of Will Bosisto to midwicket on the stroke of tea. That would be Bosisto’s only over of the day.
South Australia’s pace attack toiled hard during the final session on a surface that has not offered much for the seamers. Green, as is his style, took time to get his innings up and running – he was 2 off 31 balls early on – but had collected seven boundaries by the end of the day.
South Australia had resumed handsomely placed on 4 for 368 and Head went to his double hundred in the second over of the day with consecutive boundaries off Liam Guthrie. His 245-ball innings was eventually ended when he was superbly caught at slip by Marsh.
The visitor were taken beyond 500 by Worrall and Jake Lehmann, the former hitting 39 off 41 balls before his dismissal brought the declaration.
India v England 2020-21 – Chris Woakes flies home from India tour after lengthy spell on England’s sidelines
Allrounder to return for ODI series in March, having played no matches in three countries
England will not be able to call upon Chris Woakes for next week’s fourth Test against in Ahmedabad, after he left the tour on Thursday for his pre-arranged break from the team’s bio-secure bubble.
Woakes, 31, has endured a frustrating winter with England, having been involved in squads in South Africa, Sri Lanka and now India without playing a single game.
He travelled to South Africa for England’s white-ball tour in December, but having sat out the T20I leg (his last such match came in 2015), the ODI series was then cancelled due to concerns over the implementation of Covid protocols in the team hotel.
Next, Woakes’ chances of pushing for a place on the Sri Lanka leg of England’s Test tour were kiboshed from the outset, after his Birmingham-based travel companion Moeen Ali was diagnosed with Covid-19 on arrival in the country in January, meaning that both men were required to undergo an extended period of quarantine.
Woakes was then left out of the first three Tests against India, including this week’s pink-ball Test – which might have been his one realistic shot at involvement, given England’s belief that the conditions may have favoured seam bowling.
However, his prowess with the bat was overlooked in favour of a reunion of England’s old guard, James Anderson and Stuart Broad, neither of whom took a wicket as spin dominated for both teams in the two-day finish.
In keeping with the ECB’s policy for all of their multi-format players, Woakes now returns home to be with his wife Amie and their two young daughters, Ella and Evie-Louise, who was born in October.
Already this year, Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes have missed the Tests in Sri Lanka, as did Rory Burns, who was on paternity leave, while Jonny Bairstow and Mark Wood flew home for the Chennai leg of the India tour.
Jos Buttler, Sam Curran and Moeen are also unavailable for the remainder of the series, but will return to the squad next week to prepare for the five-match T20I series that starts on March 12.
One squad player who may yet come back into the side for the fourth Test in Ahmedabad is the spinner Dom Bess, who was dropped in favour of Moeen in Chennai despite claiming 17 wickets at 22.41 in his three Tests against Sri Lanka and India.
The England management had been concerned that Bess lacked the control to restrict India’s batsmen on turning wickets – a view partially vindicated by the performance of his de facto replacement, Joe Root, who took the startling figures of 5 for 8 in 6.2 overs at Ahmedabad.
However, with the fourth-Test wicket every bit as likely to offer turn from the outset, and at least one of England’s three seamers likely to be surplus to requirements, there’s an obvious opportunity for Bess to return to the line-up.
“He’s in contention,” Chris Silverwood, England’s head coach, said. “He was left out of this one because of the potential movement we could have got out of the pink ball. In training, we thought how do we make best use of this pink ball and who we have available?
“We’ve got two bowlers in the top 10 [Broad and Anderson] and if they can move the ball around, they’re a handful. So from Bessy’s point of view I wouldn’t read too much into that. He’s played an important part in helping us win games in the past and I’m sure he will do again in the future.
“He’s been great around the group,” Silverwood added. “We’ve got a good group here who do get around each other and help each other out, keep each other going. You have to do that in bubble life, which is what we’re living in at the moment. We’re lucky we’ve got that sort of environment.”
Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at @miller_cricket
Perth Glory vs Brisbane Roar, VAR, Diego Castro, goals, highlights, Jack Hingert
Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho admits 'special' Spurs star has Harry Kane 'problem'
BCCI opposed to ICC’s new bidding policy for world events
Zlatan Ibrahimovic to LeBron James
Man Utd should fear three players after AC Milan Europa League draw
Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has two ways to help 'frustrated' Bruno Fernandes
Recent Match Report – South Aust vs West Aust 14th Match 2020/21
Man Utd and Liverpool sent Lionel Messi to Man City warning as blockbuster transfer eyed
Pandemic changes NBA draft rules for seniors
Marla Miller retiring as MLB’s head of special events after 21-year run
Cricket4 days ago
Sri Lanka’s Lahiru Kumara tests positive for Covid-19
Soccer5 days ago
Man Utd ready to sell David De Gea and pick replacement ahead of summer transfer window
Cricket5 days ago
Ind vs Eng – 3rd Test – Motera
Soccer2 days ago
Chelsea owner Abramovich makes Erling Haaland transfer plan using Eden Hazard blueprint
Soccer6 days ago
Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes told he has three team-mates to thank for fine form
Cricket4 days ago
Sreesanth bags five as Kerala win two in two | Cricket
Golf4 days ago
When can I play golf, grassroots football, tennis or go swimming with roadmap announced?
NBA2 days ago
NBA remains committed to all teams playing 72 games as it announces the second half of its schedule