In IPL 2022, Rinku Singh has scored 174 runs from 7 games at an average of 34.80 and strike rate of 148.71.
Who would have thought that a person who got a job offer of a sweeper, would be sweeping the best bowlers in the world for sixes? Such is the stroke of destiny. The son of a cylinder delivery man, firing on all cylinders in the most competitive league in the world, Rinku Khanchand Singh is another product from the manufacturing plant of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Perfect Family Man
Rinku Singh was just another ordinary person from Uttar Pradesh who was part of a large nine-member family. Living in a small two-bedroom house in an Indane LPG godown, even before he could wear any cricket jersey, Rinku was wearing the jersey of responsibilities for his family.
In his early 20s, Rinku was playing state-level and junior-level cricket, and with the meagre allowances and match fees he got, he would help his family pay off loans taken from various people. Not many would have the heart to give a newly won motorcycle to their father. But such was the character of Rinku, who gave his new bike, which he had won by playing in a cricket tournament in Delhi, to his hard-working father, thinking that would make his father's cylinder delivery job a little easier.
His father delivered cylinders, whereas his son delivered match-winning knocks for Uttar Pradesh in the domestic first-class competitions. As such, Rinku was always in contention due to his incredible hitting ability. He has represented Uttar Pradesh at the Under-16, Under-19 and Under-23 levels and the Central Zone at the Under-19 level.
Fortune favours the brave – Rinku’s rise from UP first-class side to KKR
Rinku made his List A cricket debut for Uttar Pradesh in March 2014 at the age of 16 and top-scored with 83 against a formidable Vidarbha side. He made his first-class debut for Uttar Pradesh in the 2016–17 Ranji Trophy, which earned him an IPL call, as he was bought for his base price of INR 10 lakhs by Kings XI Punjab (now known as Punjab Kings), only to be benched for the entire season.
Rinku then turned towards Ranji Trophy, and he was the leading run-scorer for Uttar Pradesh in the group stage of the 2018–19 Ranji Trophy, with 803 runs in nine matches. He finished the tournament with 953 runs in 10 matches.
Rinku Singh was called for trials by Mumbai Indians (MI) after an impressive Ranji Trophy season in 2018-19, where he absolutely smacked the leather of the cricket ball with a quickfire 95 runs off just 31 balls. Hoping to get a minimum of INR 20 lakhs, Rinku was glued to the television watching IPL 2018 auction. As anticipated, Mumbai went into a bidding war with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to secure the services of Rinku, and the pocket dynamo eventually went to KKR for INR 80 lakhs, four times his base price.
Rinku’s hard work was finally paying off. The first thought that Rinku had after going for INR 80 lakhs was that he could contribute to his brother’s and sister’s wedding. Such was the heart of the selfless Rinku Singh.
Nana korobi ya oki
As the above Japanese proverb goes, "fall down seven times, get up eight." Rinku had a nightmare of IPL for the first three years, as between the 2018 and 2020 seasons, Rinku could only manage to score 77 runs in 10-odd games for KKR. Rinku’s IPL breakthrough dream was further shattered when he was injured and missed the entire IPL 2021.
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) maintained their faith in Rinku by purchasing him for INR 50 lakhs in IPL 2022 mega-auction. A rejuvenated Rinku was more determined than ever before to perform and stand true to the hype around him. Rinku didn’t disappoint this time around, scoring 174 runs in the seven matches so far, at a strike rate of 148.71, showing the world why he has been rated so highly domestically.
In fact, Rinku was so determined to win matches for KKR that he had written "50-not out" on his palm before the match against Rajasthan Royals (RR). Though he could not hit a 50, Rinku scored a 23-ball 42* and helped KKR chase down 153 runs against RR.
In a do or die game for KKR against LSG on Wednesday, Rinku Singh yet again came all guns blazing. KKR were chasing a mammoth 211 against LSG at Dr DY Patil Sports Academy in Navi Mumbai in match number 66 of IPL 2022.
Rinku made his entry at no. 7 when the equation read 69 off 26 balls for KKR. Not a comfortable chase but possible if Andre Russell held his ground but he got out in the very next over bowled by Mohsin Khan and that left KKR to accomplish a mountain of 61 runs off 20 balls.
But Rinku Singh and Sunil Narine almost did the improbable when most people had written them off; the duo added 58 runs off just 19 balls.
Rinku got out at 40 off 15 balls, with three needed off the last two balls. At the beginning of the last over bowled by Marcus Stoinis, however, KKR needed 21 to stay alive in IPL 2022 and Rinku scored 18 off the first 4 balls. Still, KKR lost the game by three runs and got knocked out of IPL 2022.
But Rinku has made his mark and could be counted upon for his daredevilry in the years to come.
As they say, "You have to be stronger than your situation," and Rinku was definitely a strong young man who showed character, was gritty and adamant about playing cricket. A kind-hearted young man, wanting to take his family out of the financial crisis, never gave up, even after multiple failures initially in IPL, and as they say, the rest is history!
One hopes that the young man goes on to create history for Team India as well one day in the near future.