If Not For Cricket, I Would Have Become A Coolie, Says T Natarajan
T Natarajan’s journey from a tennis ball cricketer to bagging a lucrative IPL deal is nothing short of a fairytale. The fast-bowler, whose base price was Rs 10 lakhs, was sold to Kings XI Punjab for a whopping Rs 3 Crore after the Punjab-based outfit saw off fierce competition from Rising Pune Supergiants and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Son of a daily wage worker, Natarajan grew up in Chinnappampatti, 36 km off Salem. The Tamil Nadu pace sensation, who shot to limelight after his exceptional bowling at the death overs in the Tamil Nadu Premier League, had not represented either school or college in the game, and had not even seen a proper cricket ground till he was 20. But his fortunes completely changed after he moved to Chennai in 2010 to play in the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) fourth division league. Two years later, he played in TNCA first division league before making his Ranji debut against Bengal at the Eden Gardens in 2015.
But life could have been so different for Natarajan had he not picked the cricket ball. Speaking to Cricbuzz after receiving the great news, he said:
“If not for cricket, I would have become a coolie.”
Expressing his love for the game, he said:
“I always loved playing cricket. I loved winning those cups, I loved it.”
He credited A Jayaprakash, a cricketer playing in Chennai’s fourth division, for giving direction to his career. Jayaprakash had convinced Natarjan’s parents to take him to Chennai after getting impressed with his abilities.
“I owe it all to Jayaprakash. He was the only one who showed me a way and kept motivating me. He was the first person I spoke to. I haven’t even spoken to my parents yet. I’m just happy right now. Very, very happy,” he concluded.
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