Real-life lessons in Rinku’s evolution from fighter to finisher

Rinku Singh featuring in India vs Ireland series (Credit: @rinkukumar12)

There are some stories that leave an indentation in every cricket fan’s heart. Once upon a time in Aligarh, where dreams struggle to break free from the grip of adversities, there was a boy named Rinku Singh.

Born into the embrace of humble means, Rinku knew the taste of struggle like the back of his hand. His father worked as deliveryman for a cylinder company. When Rinku was selected for the UP U-19 team, the family was burdened with a debt of Rs 5 lakh. But Rinku knew how to be stern in the face of difficulties. He saved up from his daily allowance and took up a part-time job as a domestic worker.

Rinku has been around in the IPL for over five years, dodging the spotlight, although not deliberately. He was on the sidelines, grinding every single day to prove his mettle. Not many make it big by overcoming such mounting odds. The few who do, serve as inspirations, reminding us that with perseverance and devotion, one can overcome the violence of the dog days.

On April 1, 2018, Venky Mysore, the CEO of Kolkata Knight Riders, announced that the team was looking to redefine itself under the captaincy of Dinesh Karthik. Gautam Gambhir had parted ways with the franchise. KKR had a list of uncapped players including Apoorv Wankhede, Nitish Rana, Ishank Jaggi and Rinku. Of the four, Rinku was the only one who was still to cement his place in his domestic team. However, Mysore did not want big names. He wanted hunger.

Rinku was eager to step into the limelight, hungry for success. But little did he know that his challenges were far from over, even after securing a coveted IPL contract. Despite pouring his heart into the game, Rinku managed a mere 37 runs in five matches. Despite this setback, KKR made a surprising decision to stand by him for IPL 2019.

Yet, fate had other plans in store for the youngster from Uttar Pradesh. The BCCI dealt him a heavy blow, imposing a three-month suspension for his involvement in an unauthorised tournament in Abu Dhabi. KKR’s unwavering support offered a glimmer of hope amidst thisdarkness. Their belief in Rinku not only provided reassurance, but also started his journey of redemption.

In IPL 2022, he finally got his time under the sun, scoring 174 runs in seven matches, giving everyone a glimpse of the power of his bat. But it was against Gujarat Titans in IPL 2023 that Rinku became a household name. In a heart-stopping clash, he illuminated the stadium with an awe-inspiring display. With the target seemingly out of reach, Rinku erupted into a spectacular frenzy of power-hitting, unleashing an astonishing barrage of five consecutive sixes.

The crowd held its breath, feeling the tension mounting. With 28 runs needed from the last five deliveries, came the climax. Yash Dayal, the unfortunate bowler, could only watch in disbelief as Rinku’s bat transformed into a weapon of destruction. In an epic ending, KKR seized victory from the jaws of defeat. Rinku had become a superhero.

Since then, Rinku has emerged as a formidable contender for the finisher’s role in the Indian T20I team. His rise is a testament to fate’s enigmatic hand, which propelled him into the spotlight in the most spellbinding manner. His trajectory has been nothing but meteoric.

In a twist of fate that seems almost poetic, Rinku’s journey has led him to secure a BCCI Grade C contract. Among the elite group of 15 players handed central contracts in the recently announced list for 2023-24, Rinku stands tall, as a shining example of perseverance whose hard work got rewarded.

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