IPL memories: T Natarajan – The late bloomer leaves his mark


Tamil Nadu left-arm pacer T. Natarajan catapulted into the limelight when Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) snapped him up for 30 times his base price of Rs. 10 lakh, making him the highest-paid uncapped Indian player in the 2017 auction.

“I’ve been part of the IPL for a while now, where I’ve had a chance to learn from and interact with Indian and overseas players. It was difficult for me at first, but things have only gotten better.

When I was picked by Punjab, everyone started talking and writing about me; it was a new feeling. My parents were very, very happy. I’m the eldest of five siblings — three sisters and one brother. They were all excited (laughs),” Natarajan had told Sportstar in an earlier interview.

Natarajan didn’t get a game in the 2018 and 2019 IPL seasons but had a memorable tournament with the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the UAE in 2020, where he carved a niche for his expert use of the yorkers.

Since then, Natarajan has taken giant strides, including making his debut in all three formats during India’s tour of Australia in 2020–21. However, he has had to deal with a recurring knee injury since his memorable tour Down Under.

In his seven international games so far, Natarajan has taken 13 wickets at under 30.

So for Natarajan, who hails from Chinnappampatti, a small village 35 km from Salem in Tamil Nadu, IPL has been life-changing.

The 32-year-old has even launched a cricket academy in his village, where local kids are trained.

Natarajan may have been a late bloomer, having had to wait a long time for his breakthrough at the highest level, but his white-ball success has informed the social utilitarianism that has followed.


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