Namboori Thakur Tilak Varma, born on November 8, 2002, is an accomplished Indian cricket player renowned for his left-handed batting skills and occasional off-spin bowling. He officially entered the international cricket scene as a representative of India on August 3, 2023, in a match against the West Indies. His prowess isn’t limited to the international stage; he’s a key player for Hyderabad in domestic cricket and a valuable asset to the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.
Tilak Varma’s origins trace back to Hyderabad, where he was born. His father, Nagaraju Varma, worked as an electrician, while his mother, Gayatri Devi, took care of their home. He has a younger sibling, Tarun Varma.
Varma’s passion for cricket ignited at an early age. His talent was spotted by coach Salim Bayash when he was just 11 years old, playing tennis ball cricket. Bayash recognized his potential and took him under his wing, providing training at the Legala Cricket Academy, Lingampally. Despite the significant distance, Bayash used to transport Varma to and from the academy on his scooter, covering a round trip of over 40 km. This persisted until Varma’s family relocated closer to the academy.
His educational journey began at Crescent Model English School, Hyderabad, and he continued his secondary education at Lepakshi Junior College in the same city. Currently, he’s pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Andhra University.
Varma’s entry into first-class cricket occurred during the 2018–19 Ranji Trophy, making his debut for Hyderabad on December 30, 2018. Throughout the tournament, he impressed with his bat, amassing 215 runs in seven matches at a striking strike rate of 147.26. He ventured into Twenty20 cricket, debuting for Hyderabad in the 2018–19 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy on February 28, 2019. His List A debut followed on September 28, 2019, for Hyderabad in the 2019–20 Vijay Hazare Trophy, during which he managed to score 180 runs in 5 games and also contributed with 4 wickets.
In recognition of his talent, he was selected to be a part of India’s squad for the 2020 Under-19 Cricket World Cup in December 2019. Although his performance in the competition involved playing six games, he scored a modest total of 86 runs.
Continuing his impressive track record, Varma exhibited his skills in the 2021-22 Vijay Hazare Trophy, scoring 180 runs in five matches and clinching four wickets. His achievements caught the attention of the Mumbai Indians, who acquired him during the auction for the 2022 Indian Premier League tournament in February 2022. The bidding process concluded with the Mumbai Indians securing him for Rs. 1.7 crore, well above his base price of Rs. 20 lakh. In the early stages of the league, he showcased his mettle by scoring a rapid 61 off 33 balls against the Rajasthan Royals at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
As the year 2023 unfolded, Varma’s prowess continued to shine. In the initial match of the 2023 Indian Premier League, he notched an impressive 84 off 46 balls against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. His skills were further highlighted during the playoff match against the Gujarat Titans, where he scored 43 runs from just 14 balls.
July 2023 marked a significant milestone in Varma’s career as he received his maiden call-up to the Indian cricket team for the T20I series during the West Indies tour. Making his T20I debut on August 3, 2023, in the first match of the series, he delivered a remarkable performance. He emerged as India’s top scorer, contributing 39 runs from a mere 22 deliveries, and managed to secure 2 catches in the same match.
Varma’s accomplishments continued to grow as he achieved his first international half-century on August 6, 2023, during the second T20 match against the West Indies. This achievement earned him the distinction of being the second youngest Indian to score a fifty in Men’s T20I, following in the footsteps of Rohit Sharma.
His remarkable skills have also earned him a place in the Indian squads for the three-match T20I tour of Ireland and the upcoming 2022 Asian Games set to take place in Hangzhou, China.