Ipl has always come up with huge surprises. It was the same this season too. A left-arm seamer Thangarasu Natarajan, an uncapped player on the auction list, attracted massive bidding.
He was a porter’s son who grew up in Chinnappampatti, an obscure village 36 km off Salem and life had always been a struggle for Natarajan. His mother ran a street-side stall while his father worked as a porter at the village railway station. The eldest of five siblings, Natarajan used to play cricket with his friends from a young age. However, he only played with the tennis ball, that too on an uneven patch of land that acted as a makeshift cricket ground. Till the age of 20, he had never even seen a proper cricket ground, let alone represented either his school or college in the game.
Like there is always a human to help another, there is a well wisher from the same village who came to the rescue of this man. Jayaprakash motivated him to work harder and excel at the game. Jayaprakash was convinced about the young boy’s capabilities and potential to make it big. He left no stone un-turned to encourage Natarajan. Inspired by his fellow villager’s encouraging words, the young lad moved to Chennai and joined a cricket club in the city.
Natarajan’s yorkers quickly caught the attention of Chennai’s cricketing circles and he quickly climbed the board. After playing his first match for the BSNL team in Tamil Nadu Cricket Association’s fourth division league, Natarajan joined Vijay Cricket Club for a year. After playing for them in 2012-13 in the first division, he moved to Jolly Rovers, a popular club that has fielded big names like R Ashwin and Murali Vijay.
He was not aware of illegal bowling actions until then and had to face a slight rock amidst his hard work and then with the help of former Tamil Nadu players he modified his bowling run-up and loading to conform to the rules. In 2016, he got his big breakthrough when he enjoyed a successful stint for Dindigul Dragons in the inaugural edition of Tamil Nadu Premier League. His successful spell including a four-wicket innings haul against Railways and Uttar Pradesh in the latest season caught the attention of the IPL scouts. Known for his quick speed, Natarajan is today considered one of the brightest prospects to come up from Tamil Nadu.
A porter’s son from a sleepy village in Tamil Nadu, Natarajan watched his life change in front of his eyes as the bids against his name took a staggering 30-time jump from a ₹10 lakhs base price to ₹3 crore during the IPL auction on Monday. For the talented 25-year-old, this hard-won moment of success had come after years of struggle. Apart from being elated about playing for the Kings XI Punjab in the season, he is also excited to meet his his role model, Australian cricketer Mitchell Johnson, during the tournament.
We wish this player all the best and a successful career for all the hard work he went through till date. Congratulations T.Natarajan.