Mumbai Indians’ head coach Mahela Jayawardene and Director of Cricket Zaheer Khan have both said that they had been tracking Tilak Varma for the past two years. Impressed by Varma’s talent, potential, and hard work, the franchise bought him for 1.7 crore in the mega-auction and, on the back of an impressive prolific domestic season, they handed him a place in their starting eleven.
The left-hander straightaway turned heads around with a fluent 22-run knock off 15 balls but that left the fans wanting for more. That thirst of the fans was quenched when Tilak Varma whacked 61 runs off 33 balls against the powerful Rajasthan Royals bowling line-up.
Though Mumbai Indians lost both the games, once again, the franchise has given the world a talent to watch out for: Tilak Varma.
The 19-year-old’s background story will leave you inspired. Tilak comes from a humble background, his father, Namboori Nagaraju, an electrician who couldn’t even afford to continue his son’s cricket coaching at one point. That’s when his coach, Salam Bayash, took care of all his expenses and provided him with proper training so that the young kid could fulfil his dream.
From this – a situation where it was getting difficult for his parents to make the ends meet and continue his cricket coaching – to seeing the likes of SRH, RR, CSK, MI fighting for him at the auction table – Tilak Varma had a base price of 20 lakh at the IPL 2022 auction and was sold for 1.7 crore – got the family emotional and in tears of happiness.
“As soon as I got selected for Mumbai Indians, I made a video call to my parents. They were very happy, but unable to say anything; tears were rolling down their eyes. Papa was unable to talk at all. I said that I have been selected for Mumbai Indians. I too had no idea what to say! Then I said that I am disconnecting the phone. It was the most emotional moment of my life,” Tilak Varma was quoted as saying by IANS.
Tilak Varma recollected a poignant story of how he broke a record with a broken bat in junior cricket before his coach got him a new willow.
“My father never says no to anything. He used to say that it will happen, but due to lack of money, he could not afford many things. I broke my bat once. So he said that he would buy a new one, but could not buy it for a long time.
“I then continued to play with the same broken bat. With the broken bat I made the highest runs in U-16 cricket. When my coach saw this, he bought me everything I needed. Whatever I am today is due to my Coach sir,” the southpaw added.
Tilak Varma said that Mumbai Indians have been the team he’d loved from childhood and was elated to be part of the 5-time champions’ squad.
“I was on a video call with my coach when my name was announced for the auctions. I can’t express my feelings when MI bid for me. I have admired MI since my childhood. I was with my Ranji team when it happened. After hearing the news, all my teammates were very happy and started dancing,” he recalled.