Till a few years ago, the IPL for Basil Thampi meant an exciting tournament to watch. He was seriously into tennis-ball cricket and never imagined he would be good enough to play in the world’s most glamorous cricket league.

But a little over week ago, while talking to Sportstar from Mumbai, ahead of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 cricket tournament, the Kerala bowler had expressed hope that he might be considered by one of the IPL teams. Because of live television, the world had discovered he was capable of bowling consistently above 140 kmph.

His wish came true on Monday, when he was picked up by Gujarat Lions for Rs. 85 lakhs, against a base price of Rs. 10 lakhs.

“I would not have minded if I was bought for Rs. 10 lakhs; what matters is that I have been selected for an IPL team,” said Basil, over phone from Pune, shortly after bowling to the Indian batsmen at the nets.

That call to the camp to the Indian Test team, for the Australian series, though was a big surprise to him. “I never expected that call from the BCCI,” he said. “It was an amazing experience bowling to the Indian batsmen. I was happy when coach Anil Kumble said some nice things about my bowling.”

Basil knows it is his pace that has suddenly put him into the limelight. “It was just my fortune that those T-20 matches in Chennai (South Zone) and Mumbai were televised; otherwise nobody would have noticed my speed,” he said. “Even I came to know of my pace only because of the telecast.”

He would have plenty of competition for the pace bowler’s slot in the Gujarat Lions team, which also bought quick men like Manpreet Gony, Nathu Singh and Munaf Patel from the auction in Bengaluru. “But, I am not worried about that fact,” he said. “The competition between the players is good.”