The little known 25-year-old Natarajan’s life changed in a matter of few minutes as Rs 10 lakh base price saw a jump toARs 3 crore when he was bought by Kings XI Punjab.
His eyes transfixed on the TV screen, Thangarasu Natarajan could not believe it as the bids for him kept on rising at a breakneck pace during the IPL auction.
Growing up in Chinnappampatti, an obscure village 36 km off Salem, 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.
And the then 20-year-old, one of the five children, was plying his trade at tennis ball games in his native Salem. He eventually moved to Chennai where he played for the popular Jolly Rovers, a club which has fielded big names like R Ashwin and Murali Vijay.
TNPL : The breakthrough
His big breakthrough came last year when he enjoyed a successful stint for Dindigul Dragons in the inaugural TNPL, attracting the attention of the IPL scouts.
“It seems unreal. I never thought I would play in the Tamil Nadu Premier League, let alone the IPL. Very thankful that it has happened,” Natarajan’s elation was palpable as he spoke.
“TNPL was fantastic for me. But I am thankful to people like Ashwin, Vijay and L Balaji (TN bowling coach) who instilled the belief in me that I was good enough at the Ranji Trophy level. It was my dream to Ranji Trophy which has come trueAand now I look forward to meeting people in the IPL and learning from them,” he said.
Consistent performances for two years in Chennai club circles earned him a call-up to the Ranji Trophy 2015-2016.