A few months ago, Thangarasu Natarajan fervently hoped to at least get an opportunity to play in the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL). Things turned out to be much better as Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) signed him up for an eye-catching sum of INR 3 Crores. To put things to perspective, he fetched the highest sum among all Indian seamers available in the auction.
Keeping his expectations quite low, the Tamil Nadu seamer had kept his base price at just INR 10 Lakhs. However, the franchises had done their research and were truly aware of his skills. Even as Kings XI and Rising Pune Supergiants began the bidding, Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad joined the fray. Eventually, KXIP sealed the deal at 30 times his base price.
Let us track Natarajan’s early days and his inspirational rise to fame.
#5 Humble beginnings and tennis ball cricket
Natarajan spent his formative years in Chinnappampatti, an obscure village 36 kilometres from Salem. He was born to a daily wage worker employed in a saree manufacturing unit and the eldest of five children.
The early days were quite the struggle with his family barely managing to make ends meet. His mother had to sell snacks at a small roadside shop in order to contribute to the income. It does not come as a surprise that Natarajan only played with a tennis ball till he was 20.
He was not even able to get the opportunity to see what a proper cricket ground looked like, let alone play for his school or college. There was no television set either to watch and learn from the international arena.