Thangarasu Natarajan: From Tennis Ball Star To IPL Big Bucks

The story of Thangarasu Natarajan is one of the many inspiring and uplifting stories that exist in the world of cricket. From his early years to his rapid rise in professional cricket, his story is a tribute to unwavering determination and unrelenting effort. 

The Inspiring Journey of Thangarasu Natarajan

Left-arm seamer Thangarasu Natarajan was glued to the TV and found the IPL auction's sudden escalation of bids against his name to be bizarre. The life of the barely-known 25-year-old suffered a tremendous transformation in a couple of minutes. The bids for Kings XI Punjab, which began at a base price of Rs 10 lakh, surged to Rs 3 crore, with Virender Sehwag zealously propelling the bidding.

Perhaps recollections of his difficult past—when his mother ran a booth on the side of the road, and his father served as a porter at the train station—came flooding back. Before moving to Chennai, Natarajan practised tennis ball games in his native of Salem when he was 20 years old and one of five siblings. He joined the Jolly Rovers there, a team that produced notables like R Ashwin and Murali Vijay.

His big break came when he distinguished himself with Dindigul Dragons during the first TNPL, attracting the attention of 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." gushed Natarajan in a discussion with PTI. TNPL gave him the exposure he needed for development.

Thangarasu Natarajan's debut match came under pressure in TNPL, but players like Ashwin, Vijay and L Balaji (TN bowling coach) gave him confidence to compete at Ranji Trophy level. His dream to play in the Ranji Trophy came true, and he was excited to earn the opportunity to interact with and learn from the IPL participants.

He was able to play in the Ranji Trophy during the 2015–2016 season because of his two years of continuous club cricket in Chennai. He was known as the 'Mustafizur Rahman' of Tamil Nadu for his prowess in bowling accurate yorkers and variations. While Vijay will be spotted in the Kings XI Punjab dressing room, Mitchell Johnson's absence from the team has left him disappointed.

Natarajan said about the Australian cricketer being picked by the Mumbai Indians for the 2018 season, "Johnson is my role model, and it would be amazing if I could meet him during the IPL." Apart from his humble beginnings, Natarajan also faced a serious obstacle on the field when he was investigated for an alleged action that prompted changes under former Tamil Nadu spinner Sunil Subramaniam.

Thangarasu Natarajan's life exemplifies unwavering determination and a powerful reminder that aspirations can be fulfilled with unyielding determination and constant work. He has become an inspiration that shows how one can get out of disadvantaged conditions and achieve extraordinary success in the world of sports. His story has a lasting impact that extends beyond the boundaries of the cricket field and serves as a reminder of the limitless potential of the human spirit when faced with obstacles.

Despite financial difficulties as a child, he never let his family's limited resources stop him from following his love of cricket. Thangarasu Natarajan's transformation from navigating tennis ball matches in Salem to finding himself in the IPL's big-bucks crowd has been nothing short of amazing. His remarkable output is a lesson in perseverance, optimism and unrelenting dedication, not just cricket prowess.

What exactly happened to Thangarasu Natarajan?
Thangarasu Natarajan suffered a knee injury in Australia, limiting his playing time to one T20I and one ODI in 2021 against visiting England. Just when he appeared to have fully recovered, the injury flared up again, forcing him to withdraw from the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021. He was forced to undergo surgery and undergo a recovery period as a result.
Who bought Thangarasu Natarajan in the IPL?
Indian fast bowler T Natarajan was bought by Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) for a fee of Rs 4 crore during a fierce bidding war between SRH and Gujarat Titans.