The next chapter in Rinku Singh’s journey begins now

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While the victorious Indian team left Barbados for New Delhi, and landed in India just before you read this, one man left for Harare to join the squad touring Zimbabwe. Rinku Singh, on a mission, will want to make a fresh start and a statement. Rinku wouldn’t know why he wasn’t part of the team. He wouldn’t know what more he needed to do to make the side as a finisher. But what he will know is that there is no room to sulk. He needs to pick himself up and move on. Shivam Dube, despite his final heroics, didn’t do much else in the T20 World Cup, and Rinku can surely reclaim his spot. And that quest starts in Zimbabwe.

When Rinku finished the IPL match against the Gujarat Titans with five straight sixes in 2023, many said it was a fluke. It could never happen again. But he almost did it again in the same season. There were 40-plus runs off the last two overs against Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) and Rinku, all of a sudden, had found his mojo again. With all of Eden Gardens pushing him, it was his amphitheatre. He was in the lead role, with everyone else part of the support cast. 

In an interview with RevSportz at the start of the 2023 season, Rinku had mentioned trying to finish games. He had also spoken about his determination to repay the KKR management for the faith they had reposed in him. He did both. Now, he needs to earn the faith of the new coach who has seen him at close quarters with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), and make sure that he earns a permanent spot in the team. That’s his calling, and knowing Rinku, he will leave no stone unturned.

If I have to single out one thing in Rinku, I would  say it is his stillness in the last few overs as he aims to finish games. And that could only happen because he has complete control of his mind. At the slightest of mistakes, Rinku cashes in. Easier said than done, but he does keep it simple. Taking the game deep very much like MS Dhoni used to, he can be the ideal No. 5 or No. 6 for India going forward. His mind, more than anything else, will help him tide over the World Cup disappointment, and help him take fresh guard. 

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

IPL 2023 had pushed Rinku into the big league. India A opened up for him soon enough, and a senior team call-up was also round the corner. After years of effort for UP and averaging over 60 on the domestic circuit, Rinku is now finally a star. The spotlight will now be on him in Zimbabwe, and having seen him deal with pressure, it is safe to say he will stay rooted. And calm. For him, it is about doing his job to the best of his ability. Repaying the faith his fans have reposed in him. 

Whichever team goes on to win this five-match bilateral series, Rinku will certainly be a highlight. His meteoric rise is testament to his unwavering commitment to the sport. His journey from humble beginnings to becoming a key player for India showcases his determination and talent. As Rinku continues to excel, he will indeed serve as a role model for young cricketers who dare to dream. And his story also shows that sport will not always allow you a smooth ride. 

There will be calls which are tough to fathom. Impossible to digest, and hard to comprehend. But then, as a sportsperson, you should control the controllables and move forward. That’s what Rinku will do in Zimbabwe, as his teammates celebrate with the World Cup trophy in India. Rohit Sharma missed out on the 2011 World Cup. He worked the hardest to make a comeback, and is now one of the most successful Indian captains. The World Cup disappointment made him a better player and leader. For Rinku, it could be the same. And if that happens, none of us will be complaining. 

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