Updated: Feb 20, 2022
Mumbai Indians purchase Hyderabad all-rounder Tilak Varma for INR 1.7 crore in IPL 2022 Auction.
"Mere baare mein bhale hi na likho, but coach sir ka zaroor mention karna (It's okay not to write about me but definitely do highlight Salam sir)," 19-year-old Tilak Varma told PTI after bagging a big deal from Mumbai Indians (MI).
"Dreams do come true if you have the courage to pursue them."
The Hyderabad all-rounder justifies the statement well as he became a crorepati (millionaire) overnight but the struggle behind it is full of many sleepless nights. Nights, when he worked hard on the field, nights when he didn't sleep, nights when he saw his family suffer during Covid-19 and much is still unsaid.
Journey from INR 20 Lakhs To INR 1.7 Crore
The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 mega-auction saw many players going big under the hammer. While several prominent names didn’t fetch a single bid and went unsold, there were some lesser known faces who went on to bag some big deals.
All the 10 franchises showed more interest in home-grown young talents as many uncapped players invited fierce bidding war between franchises.
Among those was Tilak Varma, who bagged INR 1.7 crores from five-time champions Mumbai Indians. The 19-year-old had kept his base price at Rs 20 lakh but a bidding war between four IPL teams -- Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rajasthan Royals, Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians -- saw his bid amount going sky high as the Ambani-owned franchise ended up acquiring his services for INR 1.7 crores.
However, it wasn't an easy journey for the Hyderabad all-rounder as he went through a tough phase before making it to the big stage. There was a time when his family could not afford cricketing equipment for him let alone proper guidance to enhance his skills.
But as they say, "God’s mill grinds slowly but surely."
Soon, Tilak found a coach who not only guided him but took care of his expenses as well. There should be no doubt as to why he credited his success to coach Salam Bayash after being picked by Mumbai Indians and asked the media to highlight his importance.
“He bought me the cricketing gear and took care of most of the expenses (at Legala Cricket Academy). So it’s all because of him and my family’s support that I'm here," Varma told PTI after being bought by the record five-time champions.
Tilak Varma's family was hit hard financially during the COVID-19 pandemic as his father, who is an electrician by profession, stopped getting new contracts owing to the periodic lockdowns, but his coach Salam Bayash made sure that the 19-year-old's cricket did not suffer, as he kept pushing him hard.
“There was a lot of suffering and we had to cut down our expenses during the pandemic. But my coach ensured that I continued playing cricket. Hopefully things will turn out better now."
Tilak Varma & His Numbers In Domestic Cricket
The Hyderabad all-rounder has been one of the most consistent and talented youngsters over the last domestic seasons. He is a middle-order batter, who can bowl off-spin as well, if the team needs.
In the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy, he was Hyderabad's third highest-run scorer with 215 runs in 7 games at a staggering strike rate of 147.26.
Similarly, the left-handed batter was his side’s third-highest run-getter in the Vijay Hazare Trophy with 180 runs in five games while picking four wickets with the ball.
He was part of India’s squad for the 2020 Under-19 Cricket World Cup, where he played six games in the competition and scored 86 runs at an average of 28.66.
Varma, on being picked by Mumbai Indians, said that he was hoping that some franchise will pick him at the IPL 2022 mega-auction but he never expected the big price tag. He further said that he would hope to justify his price tag if given an opportunity to play for Mumbai Indians.
“I was confident of playing IPL but never expected to get this price tag. It’s a dream come true for me to play with a team I always loved. It will give me a perfect opportunity to learn and hone my skills, playing alongside the greats,” he added.
"Hope Tilak Goes A Long Way" - Coach Salam Bayash
Bayash expressed his excitement and joy after Tilak was picked by the Rohit Sharma-led franchise on the second day of the two-day event. He further added that Varma has a long way to go and Mumbai Indians is a perfect place to start with.
“I can’t be happier, it’s the result of his patience and perseverance. It’s been a long journey of hard work for us. Mumbai is a big franchise and has produced many players like Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and I hope Tilak goes a long way too," Salam said from Hyderabad.
“I just hope he gets a couple of opportunities and then he will surely cement his place. He has the perfect cricketing shots and also has a patient mind. It works perfectly for him in finishing games.”
“Also, he is very serious about his off-spin and it comes handy during crunch situations," the coach said about his favourite ward.
IPL 2022 kicks off in India on March 27. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has indicated that the venues for the premier cricketing league could be Mumbai and Pune and the tournament will be held without spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The detailed schedule of the tournament is yet to be announced.