New Delhi:Sleeping on railway platforms and going hungry was Kamran Khan's daily, depressing routine as he struggled with abject poverty in his dusty home town of Azamgarh in eastern India.
But the advent of the Indian Premier League has turned things around for the teenager.
A raw left-arm pace bowler, Khan was picked by Rajasthan Royals, the inaugural winners of the glitzy Twenty20 tournament, after he impressed the bosses during trials in Mumbai.
The selection came as a boon for Khan, 18, who has not even played first-class cricket.
"I had gone for trials to every part of my state Uttar Pradesh but without success," said Khan.
"Even until a few days ago, nobody knew me. I used to play at the Azad Maidan in Mumbai and just hoped to keep on doing the hard work.
"I had just one pair of clothes for trials and torn shoes. I used to buy platform tickets and spend the nights there when travelling to attend trial camps as I did not have money to book hotel rooms.
"I often used to bowl on an empty stomach or a meal of tea and biscuits."
But life has never been the same for Khan ever since his IPL selection.
An annual contract worth 240,000 dollars, a trip to South Africa and rave reviews by skipper Shane Warne - Khan has been sucked into a heady whirlwind of good fortune.
"He's a tiny little guy, but he bowls 140 plus. He's very raw but he could be a bit of a bolter," said Australian leg -spin legend Warne.
"There's a toss-up as to what his nickname could be - Wild Thing or Tornado - something like that."
Khan is not the only youngster to be touched by IPL's magic wand.
Yusuf Pathan, son of a muezzin in a mosque in western Vadodara, led a life of impoverishment before being signed by the Royals for 475,000 dollars.
In the inaugural edition last year, Pathan scored 435 runs and took eight wickets and was also the man of the match in the final. Following his good showing in the IPL, he was selected for the Indian one-day team.
Paceman Ashok Dinda, hailing from a nondescript village of Naichanpur in West Bengal, hit the IPL success button after struggling for recognition in domestic cricket.
A late addition to the Kolkata Knight Riders' squad for the inaugural season, Dinda shone in the league opener in Bangalore. Just four months later he was picked in the Rest of India squad for the prestigious Irani Trophy.
Palani Amarnath, a right-arm seamer, worked for a construction company before deciding to take part in a fast bowling talent hunt programme.
After playing just three first-class matches, he was spotted by Chennai Super Kings, a franchise led by India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
For these youngsters, the purists' debate over Twenty20 cricket might hold little relevance for it's this slam-bang format which has brought them riches and fame.