Chennai: From a sleepy hamlet near Salem in Tamilnadu to a Rs 3 crore IPL contract, Thangarasu Natarajan’s tale is a rather interesting one. The pacy left-arm bowler is the talk of the town in the State’s cricketing circles after being picked by Kings XI Punjab in the auction held at Bengaluru yesterday.
Having watched the auction proceedings from the comforts of the guest house of Chemplast Sanmar, where he has been given free accommodation for the past three years, the 25-year-old Natarajan was delighted with the goings-on.
Starting from a base price of Rs 10 lakh, the Tamilnadu pacer’s stock soared in the matter of a few minutes before Kings XI won the bidding war and snapped him up for a handsome amount.
Natarajan’s father is a daily wage labourer in a textile unit while his mother runs a roadside stall selling fried chicken and he is the eldest of children including three sisters. He hopes to settle the debts incurred by the family in building a small house and said that the priority would be to ask his parents to stop working.
"I am very happy," Natarajan told 'News Today' about being roped in by KXIP. "I was expecting to be selected by one of the teams but I didn’t expect such a big amount."
Hailing from Chinnappampatti, he was playing tennis ball cricket in 2011 before moving to Chennai to play lower division cricket. He impressed with his bowling and got noticed by the men who matter.
Four years on, in 2015, Natarajan made his Ranji Trophy debut against Bengal at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. However, his action came under scrutiny and the whole world seem to have come crashing.
However, the young man wasn’t disheartened and under the watchful eyes of Sunil Subramanian, D Vasu and others, underwent the correction process and emerged with a corrected action. And, as they say rest is history.
Natarajan went from strength to strength and when the inaugural edition of TNPL came around, he was ready. He showed a rare ability to bowl yorkers at will and did well for Dindigul Dragons and there were whispers that he was the League’s (Mustafizur Rahman, a rangy left-arm pacer from Bangladesh).
A humble Natarajan brushed aside all that talk and said, "I can’t be compared to him." He did well in the Syed Musthaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament and was mentioned among the uncapped players who would be sought-after during the IPL auction.
In the end, things panned out that way and Natarajan emerged as the uncapped Indian, who went for maximum amount.
It should be said his (Natarajan’s) ability to bowl slowers and block-hole deliveries at the death clinched it for him. He is aware of the bigger challenges that lie ahead. "Now that I have been picked for a big amount, the expectations will be greater. I hope to repay the faith reposed in me by the KXIP."
The young paceman is looking forward to the IPL experience where he will get an opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the best in the business. With Virender Sehwag (the mentor) guiding him and State-mate Murali Vijay for company, Natarajan can only improve.
A huge fan of Mitchell Johson, he will however not be on the same squad as the former Aussie paceman has been bought by Mumbai Indians.
Natarajan said he was grateful to the TNPL and TNCA for providing a great platform. He is now keen to justify the potential and is ready for the challenges that lie ahead.
The journey from Chinnappampatti to Mohali (which is the home ground of Kings XI) has been a memorable one and the pacer will be keen for several home runs.
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