IPL Auction 2018: A few years back, Basil Thampi was just another young Keralite who had one dream— providing his family with bread by taking up a job in the Gulf. Such things are pretty common in Kerala, but an inspirational talk was all it was needed from the captain of his club team to get him back on his feet and help him chase his dream of becoming a cricketer. Thampi’s deadly yorkers and slow balls would have never been possible if it wasn’t for the sage advice given by CM Deepak, his senior at Swanton’s Cricket Club in Ernakulam. The 24-year-old pacer made the news when his efforts helped Kerala bag a berth in the quarterfinal in the Ranji Trophy for the first time ever in history. He was bought by SRH for Rs 95 lakh in the IPL auction 2018. Basil Thampi, for his ability to bowl in the death overs, certainly deserved that price.
Thampi, started off as a footballer and a tennis-ball player but former Indian fast-bowler Tinu Yohannan’s guidance helped him become a quality bowler. The 24-year-old Keralite impressed everyone with his consistency, bowling quick Yorkers in the local T20 league.
The young right-arm fast bowler’s entry into cricket is considered late as per Indian standards as it was at the age of 16 when he for the first time bowled with a proper cricket ball. He trained under Glenn McGrath and M Senthilnathan at the MRF Pace Foundation, where world-class bowlers like Zaheer Khan and Mitchell Johnson have also trained. And all his training and handwork eventually paid off after he made his debut for the Gujarat Lions in the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL). His ability to bowl deliveries at 140 kmph consistently caught the eyes of the experts during the televised games of South Zone’s Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament.
The result of this was Rs 85 lakh bid by Lions – a price that turned out to be a bargain at the end of the season. Thampi started as a stand-in and finished the tournament as one of the main Gujarat Lions bowlers – bagging 11 wickets in 12 matches. He was also awarded Emerging Player Award of the season in IPL.