Thangarasu Natarajan, a 25-year-old left-arm pacer from Tamil Nadu, has come a long way from his humble beginnings. He started out playing cricket with a tennis ball. He was part of a team from the Chinnappampatti Cricket Club that won Rs 50,000 after playing a tennis ball cricket tournament. Until 2010, Natarajan had played in six-overs tennis ball cricket tournaments that have become popular in Tamil Nadu.
This week, however, things have changed for the medium pace left-handed bowler. At the Indian Premier League auction, he was bought by the Kings XI Punjab cricket franchise. When the bidding took place, there was a bit of a lull at Rs 95 lakh, but after it picked up, he was bought for a huge Rs 3 crore. Natarajan was watching the bidding on TV from his guest house in Chennai.
Natarajan came from a family in which his father was a porter and his mother was a street vendor. He is the eldest of five children from a family that struggled financially. He was able to help his family reach financial stability when A Jayaprakash decided to help support the cricket player in order to allow him to follow a career in cricket.
The cricket player had appeared in the Ranji Trophy in Bengal in 2015. He later bowled six Yorkers when playing against the TUTI Patriots in the first Tamil Nadu Premier League. His good performance got him a trial with the Mumbai Indians team. He has continued to excel at domestic cricket.
While some may have been surprised that there was so much interest in Natarajan, Bharath Reddy, a former Indian cricketer and a top talent scout in Chennai, said that he was not surprised by the interest generated by this player.
Reddy commented: “I got a lot of calls about him from several franchises. Word spreads quickly about a player’s ability, through television coverage, through video analysts, in several ways.”