Bengaluru: His eyes transfixed on the TV screen, left-arm seamer Thangarasu Natarajan was finding it surreal when the bids against his name zoomed up at a breakneck pace during the IPL auction.
The little known 25-year-old's life changed in a matter of few minutes as his modest base price of Rs 10 lakh saw a quantum 30-time jump reaching Rs 3 crore with 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.
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.
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.
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.
Meanwhile, the 22-year-old Hyderabad medium pacer Mohammed Siraj turned out to be the surprise package going for Rs 2.6 crore to the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).
Son of an auto rickshaw driver, Siraj, who starred for Hyderabad in the last Ranji Trophy season with 41 wickets, finished as Sunrisers' second most expensive buy after Afghanistan's Rashid Khan.
Sirah has a dream, which he wants to realise in the IPL.He wants to take the wicket of one of world's best batsman, and who knows may be his future captain- Virat Kohli.
" I am very happy and did not expect this amount. I want to thank my family for all their support. Now, I want to improve on my bowling," he was quoted as saying in media reports "My son always wanted me leave auto rickshaw. Now if he says so, I have no option but to listen to him, " Siraj's father told media.
The parents have never watched a cricket match, but with son making it big, they will not miss a single one this time around.