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IPL Auction 2024: Jharkhand’s ‘Gayle’ Robin Minz - Story of Tribal Cricketer picked by Titans

IPL Auction 2024: Gujarat Titans bought Robin Minz for INR 3.6 crore. Who is Robin Minz and here is all you need to know about him. The story of tribal cricketer Robin Minz.


IPL 2024 Auction: Gujarat Titans bought Robin Minz for INR 3.6 crore in Auction | Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©X_Twitter)
Gujarat Titans bought Robin Minz for INR 3.6 crore (Photo: ©X/Twitter)

In the local cricket section, he is called ‘Jharkhand’s Chris Gayle,’ not even ‘MS Dhoni.’ It was one of those busy travelling days for Mahendra Singh Dhoni at the Ranchi airport, where Francis Xavier Minz, by then only renowned as the security guard of the airport met Dhoni, who told him, “If nobody picks Robin (in the auction), we will.”

  

Cut to December 19, 2024, the auction of the wicketkeeper and a left-handed batter from Gumla, Robin Minz took everyone by surprise. As soon as his name appeared on the giant screen in Dubai at a base price of INR 20 lakh, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) hardly took any time to lift their paddle.

 

Mumbai Indians too raised the paddle, and one could find the CSK owners a bit unsatisfied with it. Still, they kept on bidding with whatever purse they had in the bank before Gujarat Titans stormed in to take Robin Minz home for INR 3.6 crore. The boy from Shimal village of Jharkhand’s Ghuma district becomes the first tribal cricketer to be part of the Indian Premier League (IPL).


 

A cricket-crazy father’s calm son with an enormous dream

As it happens in most young cricketer’s life, buying expensive cricket equipment was one of the hardest jobs in the family. There was a time when Francis, still in the army by that time, came to visit home and found his two-year-old son trying to whack pebbles with a cane. He didn’t waste much time giving him a bat, made with a chunk of wood and brought a ball from the market, to begin the cricketing dream. 


Robin has two sisters, and it wasn’t such an easy job for their father to continue their education, and forget about buying cricketing gear for his son. Still, there were instances when he had to borrow money or sacrifice something important to the family, to use the purse for Robin’s cricket. 


“When we first went to a sports-good store to buy a bat and other gear for Robin, we thought we would get everything for Rs 2000, but the bat alone was Rs 5000!” Elis, mother of Robin expressed to ESPNcricinfo. “But we managed, we had to borrow some money but we managed.” 


Robin plays at Ranchi’s Sonnet Cricket Club, and one of his coaches is Chanchal Bhattacharya, Dhoni’s one-time coach. In the past years, Dhoni used to turn up at the club and interact with Robin, to spend time with him and discuss his physiological aspect for the game.


“Chanchal sir came home one day.” Elis recalled in the interview with ESPNcricinfo. “and he told me, ‘Don’t worry about Robin, he will be on TV soon.” Bhattacharya has praised the way Robin goes on his business with the bat. He has also found identical aspects between Robin’s game and Dhoni, both of whom looked to crack sixes, even if they got out for low scores. When he hit three centuries in the zonal Under-19s a couple of years back, the Mumbai Indians scouts followed him and sent him to London for higher facilities. 


Robin doesn’t speak much and loves to stay away from his phone, just like his idol does. Even when he picks up a call, his answers are quite limited to a simple yes or no. 



A new future holds for Robin as the aggressive batter in the lower order

Robin has yet to play a single game for the Jharkhand senior side, but he impressed while playing for the U-19 side. In 2021, he scored three centuries in five games for Jharkhand U-19, and also played in Col C K Nayudu Trophy last year. He was also part of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy squad this season, but couldn’t play due to typhoid.

 

Robin hits the ball very hard, and he scored an unbeaten 73 runs in 35 balls, playing in an invitational T20 tournament in Odisha earlier this year in 2023. The 21-year-old was also called for the trials in Lucknow Super Giants, Delhi Capitals, Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders, but wasn’t selected during the 2023 IPL auction. 


The opportunity finally arrives as he hopes to get a chance in the playing eleven for the Titans. There have been many surprises over the omissions of England’s wicket-keeper, Phil Salt, who is also a fierce batter. But the X-factor Robin brings differently, is doing the same job but coming down the order. It’s such a rare breed to have wicket-keeper batters come at number seven or eight and smash the ball from the very first delivery.


He also could come into the equation as the substitute player. Even though he won’t get his idol, he will still have Wriddhiman Saha, one of India’s best wicket-keeper, and Robin could earn valuable lessons in that department from him.

 

Robin has just lifted the lid for many from his community to follow their dream, and it might not be too long before he narrows the gap between IPL and the India senior team. 




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