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At 3 Crore, at IPL Auction, Son of Daily Wager - Thangarasu Natarajan, was a Top Buy Featured

Written by  Feb 21, 2017

He loved cricket, but never “dreamt of becoming a cricketer”. In fact, Thangarasu Natarajan almost gave up the game midway, just over a year ago. 

But his perseverance paid off on Monday, the little known 25-year-old's life changed in a matter of few minutes as Rs. 10 lakh base price saw a quantum 30-time jump reaching to Rs.3 crore with former India opener Virender Sehwag vigorously raising the pedal for Kings XI Punjab.

Perhaps he remembered the days of hardships when his mother ran a street side stall and father worked as a porter at 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.

At 20, Natarajan got his first big break. Jayaprakash gave him a pair of cricket shoes, a train ticket to Chennai and the contact number of his friend, who managed a fourth division cricket club in Thiruvallur. Within a period of 2 year, he played for the popular Jolly Rovers, a club which has fielded big names like R Ashwin and Murali Vijay.

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 said.

Natarajan recalls how TNPL gave him the much needed exposure.

"There was a lot of pressure when I was picked to play in TNPL. 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 been fulfilled and 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.

For his variation and the ability to land yorkers at will, he is now famously called 'Mustafizur Rahman' of Tamil Nadu.

He will have Vijay for company in the Kings XI Punjab dressing room but is a tad sad about Mitchell Johnson not being with the franchise anymore.

"Johnson is my role model and it will be great if I can meet him during the IPL," he said of the Australian, who has been picked by Mumbai Indians for the upcoming season.

Besides rising through a humble background, a big on the field challenge Natarajan had to deal with was when he was reported for a suspected action, which had to be modified under the guidance of former Tamil Nadu spinner Sunil Subramaniam.

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