Tuesday, July 23, 2024

‘Why do Tamil Nadu cricketers have to perform double time…’: BCCI accused of T20WC selection bias over Natarajan snub

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After much debate and discussion among the veteran cricketers and experts, BCCI on Tuesday announced the 15-member squad for the impending T20 World Cup, which will begin from June 1 onwards in the USA and the West Indies. While the outrage among the Indian cricket fraternity remained around the exclusion of Rinku Singh, who was slotted into the reserves list, a former India cricket accused BCCI of selection bias over not picking fast bowler T Natarajan for the World Cup.

Sunrisers Hyderabad’s T Natarajan collects a throw during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad at the MA Chidambaram Stadium(AFP)

One of the major selection headaches for India pertained to picking Jasprit Bumrah’s allies in the pace department. With frontrunners Arshdeep Singh and Mohammed Siraj struggling in the ongoing IPL 2024 season, Natarajan emerged as among the names selectors could look at, given his stellar run in the tournament for Sunrisers Hyderabad, both with the old and new ball. In fact, the left-armer is currently the leading wicket-taker in IPL 2024 with 15 scalps in just eight games at an economy rate of 8.96. and a strike rate of only 12.8.

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With the 33-year-old ignored by the selectors for the T20 World Cup, former India cricketer Subramaniam Badrinath accused BCCI of selection bias saying that players from Tamil Nadu always have to give double efforts compared to players from other regions to crack into the Indian team.

“Why do some Cricketers from Tamil Nadu have to perform double time more to get into? They are not getting the extra backing. T. Natarajan should definitely be included in the Indian team for the World Cup,” he said on Star Sports.

Speaking to Jio Cinema on Thursday, former Australia cricketer Shane Watson too expressed surprise over Natarajan’s absence from the India World Cup squad.

He said: “His ability to put that yorker in, his variations of speed when he needs to bowl that, it’s something he continues to produce over and over again. That’s why I was surprised that he wasn’t in the Indian T20 squad because of his consistency of performances, especially when he’s bowling in crucial times of the game when batters are going strong. He’s someone that everyone in Indian and world cricket is really happy when he’s doing well.”

Overall, Natarajan played just seven international matches for India, the last being in January 2021, before being sidelined with injuries, following which he struggled to make it back into the national team.

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