Indian Premier League (IPL) has changed the fortunes of many players since its inception in 2008. Apart from providing the budding cricketers a platform to hone their skills, the world's premier T20 league has also respected their talents by splurging huge sums on them. (More Cricket News)
Be it Nathu Singh, son of a labourer, Mohammed Siraj, son of an auto-rickshaw driver, or Rinku Singh, who almost became a sweeper -- their fortunes turned for the better when they got picked at IPL auctions. And, of course, who doesn’t know about the Pandya brothers!
IPL 2022 was no different. This year too saw a lot of players, who come from humble backgrounds, fetching big sums. Here is the list of such five players:
Tilak Varma (Mumbai Indians, INR 1.7 crore)
The left-handed batter was born in a middle-class family in Hyderabad. Being the son of an electrician, Tilak Varma found it hard to meet the expenses of becoming a professional cricketer. In came his coach Salam Bayash, who took care of all his practice needs. From providing food to giving a place in his own house, Bayash did every possible thing to make sure that Varma's training went off well. It all paid off when the 19-year-old prodigy got picked for INR 1.7 crore by Mumbai Indians ahead of IPL 2022.
Tilak Varma scored 397 runs across 14 games for the five-time champions in his maiden IPL season. He was the second-highest scorer for the side, only behind Ishan Kishan (418 runs). The teenager also bowls right-arm off-spin. Tilak’s family still lives in a rented house. He wants to buy a house for his parents with the money he earned in IPL.
Kumar Kartikeya Singh (Mumbai Indians, INR 20 lakh)
Kumar Kartikeya Singh was roped in by Mumbai Indians for INR 20 lakh as a replacement bowler for Mohammad Arshad Khan. The amount might look petty as compared to what many other players usually get in IPL. But for someone like Kartikeya, it meant a lot.
Kartikeya Singh, who is the son of a constable in Uttar Pradesh, moved to Delhi from Kanpur at the age of 15 to pursue his dream of becoming a professional cricketer. The youngster promised his family that his aim and its requirements won’t be a burden on them. To keep his promise, he even worked as a labourer at the night and didn’t eat lunch for one year. Amidst all that, the 24-year-old made sure to turn up for practice every morning.
Kartikeya, who can bowl left-arm wrist spin, wrong 'uns, finger spin and carrom ball, was well supported by coach Sanjay Bhardwaj, who offered him free coaching. After learning about the young boy’s arduous journey, Bhardwaj also let Kartikeya stay with the cooks who worked at his Delhi academy.
The left-arm Chinaman hadn’t been to his hometown for more than nine years. Kartikeya picked five wickets across four games for Mumbai Indians in his maiden IPL season.
Kuldeep Sen (Rajasthan Royals, INR 20 lakh)
The right-arm pacer from Madhya Pradesh is the son of a barber. No surprise that Kuldeep Sen struggled to finance his training during childhood. This is when Aril Anthony, a former Madhya Pradesh Under-19 fast bowler, helped him with his training gears and diet. Kuldeep was bought by Rajasthan Royals at the IPL auction 2022 at his base price of INR 20 lakh.
The 25-year-old fast bowler rose to the limelight after saving 15 runs in the last over of a thrilling contest between Rajasthan Royals and Lucknow Super Giants in IPL 2022. Kuldeep Sen picked eight wickets in seven matches at an economy rate of 9.42 for RR.
On the other hand, Kuldeep’s humble father continues to work as a barber, earning around INR 8000 per month despite his son’s new-found fame.
Abhinav Manohar (Gujarat Titans, INR 2.6 crore)
The Karnataka batter wasn’t serious with his cricket at the beginning until his father suffered financial losses in business. This saw the teenager turning his hobby of playing cricket into a passion. Abhinav Manohar is a ‘beast’ in slog overs. His fledgling T20 career boasts of a strike rate of over 150. He finished the 2021-22 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy with 162 runs across four innings at a strike rate of 150.
Gujarat Titans splurged INR 2.6 crore for Abhinav Manohar, already a popular name in the Karnataka Premier League, at IPL auctions 2022. The right-handed batter had a superb start to the season, scoring an unbeaten 15 off 7 balls to help GT win a last-over thriller against Lucknow Super Giants.
"Manohar is someone to look at with the talent he has. He is someone who you are going to hear about in the future," said a confident GT captain Hardik Pandya after the game.
It is worth noting that Abhinav Manohar is the second player from his extended family to play professional cricket. His cousin Sharanya Sadarangani represents the German women’s national team.
Vaibhav Arora (Punjab Kings, INR 2 crore)
From searching for private jobs to making his IPL debut, the journey for 24-year-old Vaibhav Arora has been a tough one. The right-arm pacer had once decided to quit cricket after his father suffered a huge loss in the family's dairy business in Ambala, Haryana. However, it was coach Ravi Verma who provided the youngster with financial help to keep playing cricket.
When Vaibhav Arora didn’t get a chance to play for the Punjab U-19 team, his coach Ravi helped him move to Himachal Pradesh. The fast bowler now plays the adopted state in domestic cricket.
In his Ranji Trophy debut match against Saurashtra in 2019, Vaibhav impressed IPL scouts by dismissing India’s Test specialist Chetesthwar Pujara. A veritable delivery that knocked off the middle stump! Punjab Kings (then Kings XI Punjab) later roped him as a net bowler for IPL 2020. Ahead of the next season, Arora was picked by Kolkata Knight Riders for INR 20 lakh but failed to feature in the playing XI.
Vaibhav Arora was again picked by PBKS ahead of the 2022 season, this time for INR 2 crore. The 24-year-old pacer duly impressed in his maiden IPL game on April 3 against Chennai Super Kings with figures of 2/21 in four overs. He bowled 14 dot balls and claimed the wickets of Robin Uthappa and Moeen Ali.
Vaibhav picked three wickets across five IPL games played in 2022. What makes him special is the ability to swing the ball both ways.