After losing the ODI series, India was shot in the arm prior to the Test series when they staged a strong comeback to record a T20 series victory against Australia. India secured the series 2-1 after winning the first two matches and although they lost the third T20I in Sydney, the fact that they recorded a second bilateral T20 series victory in Australia bodes well for the team.
Fast pitcher T Natarajan and Hardik Pandya emerged the two biggest positives for India from the limited overs stage. While Pandya excelled at bat, scoring 210 runs in all three ODIs, including a career-best 92, and followed that up with a Series Player-of-the-Series performance in the T20Is, Natarajan was a revelation for India, claiming six plots of three T20I.
Impressed with his performance, the head coach of the Indian cricket team, Ravi Shastri, praised Pandya for his knowledge of the game, adding that the all-rounder stands out as one of the cleanest forwards he has seen.
“Winning the T20 without Rohit and Bumrah was a great achievement. What basically works wonderfully for this team are the players who cope with these responsibilities. In that, Hardik has been natural. His knowledge of the game is second to none. He is one of the cleanest forwards I have seen in the game, ”Shastri told Times of India.
As for Natarajan, Shastri had nothing but promising words to say to the 29-year-old. Drafted into India’s T20 squad on the back of a wonderful 2020 IPL, Natarajan was added as cover for the injured Navdeep Saini in the ODI lineup, scoring 2/70 in his first game for the country. It followed with shocking figures of 2/30, 2/20 and 1/33 in all three T20Is.
“He (Natarajan) was chosen only as a net thrower. He had the opportunity and it became a golden one. Credit goes to team management and support staff for believing in him, working with him, and instilling that trust in him. He has a long journey ahead of him, ”Shastri added.