CHENNAI: Injuries have not been kind to India and Tamil Nadu left-arm pacer Thangarasu Natarajan over the last one-and-a-half years.
Just when the 31-year-old started to bowl like the Natarajan of old in the recent Indian Premier League, the Sunrisers Hyderabad seamer endured yet another setback. Midway through IPL 2022, Natarajan suffered a tear close to the meniscus, for which he is undergoing rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru. But, Nattu, as he is fondly referred to in close circles, is not put off by the blow.
“When I took a scan during IPL, I found out that there was a tear. It (tear) was close to the area where I underwent a knee surgery last year. Only because of the tear did I miss a few matches. I came back and played some matches by taking pain-killing injections. Since the pain persisted even after the IPL, I applied for rehab at the NCA via the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA),” Natarajan told DT Next on Saturday.
“I have been doing rehab for about three weeks now. I have not been pushing myself a lot. In order to avoid a similar injury in the future, we (him and the NCA staff) decided to take it slow. All of them at the NCA have been taking great care of me,” said Natarajan.
“I have been working on strengthening my knee. I have started bowling. There has been a lot of improvement over the last three weeks. I guess that I will be fine (fully fit) in a few weeks, but I cannot give you the exact date of my return,” Natarajan went on to add.
‘Pleased with my IPL show’
The 15th edition of the IPL had marked the latest comeback of Natarajan, who had been on a four-month lay-off prior to the marquee T20 competition. The left-armer finished as Hyderabad’s second highest wicket-taker with 18 scalps in 11 matches – behind Umran Malik (22) – but was a tad expensive as he had an economy rate of over nine.
Reflecting on his IPL 2022 campaign, Natarajan said: “I began the tournament superbly. I had a few doubts, but I was able to swing the ball and bowl well in the death overs. I was unable to get the momentum back post the injury (referring to the tear). Overall, I had a good season. It went well.”
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