Before delving into Rinku Singh’s impressive cricket career, it’s crucial to understand the backdrop of his life and how his indomitable spirit shaped his journey.
Early Life and Struggles of Rinku Singh:
Rinku Singh, born on October 12, 1997, in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India, emerged from a modest family background. His father, employed as an LPG gas delivery man, and his brother, driving an autorickshaw, strived to make ends meet. Rinku is the third child among five siblings.
Despite facing financial constraints, Rinku’s love for cricket burgeoned during his early years. Playing in the streets with his brothers and local boys, his talent did not go unnoticed. An unbeaten innings of 68 runs caught the eye of Swapnil Jain, the principal of Delhi Public School, Aligarh, leading to Rinku’s admission through a sports quota.
However, life took a challenging turn, and Rinku dropped out of school after failing in the 9th grade to support his struggling family. Undeterred, he declined a job offer to clean a coaching center, choosing to pursue his cricketing passion against all odds.
In an interview, Rinku recounted, “My mom once told me that your father isn’t supporting you, so why don’t you get a job. I thought of taking a job to support my family at a coaching center near us. I thought I’ll get a good job and went wearing a shirt and pant. But I was offered a sweeping job. They said you come and sweep in the morning before anyone comes, no one will get to know you do this. I didn’t like that, and I told myself I’ll focus on cricket instead, and I left from there. I worked hard, and my hard work has paid off.”
Despite facing opposition, including physical admonishment from his father, Rinku Singh’s unwavering determination led to a pivotal moment in a 2012 cricket tournament—the Cricket World Cup organized by DPS Aligarh. Scoring 354 runs and taking 8 wickets, he received the Man-of-the-Series award and a motorbike, earning his father’s support.
The Domestic Cricket Journey of Rinku Singh:
Rinku Singh’s foray into List A Cricket at 16 for Uttar Pradesh Cricket in 2014 marked the beginning of his domestic cricket journey. His debut game showcased his prowess with an impressive 83 runs, establishing him as a rising talent.
In the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy, Rinku emerged as the third-highest run scorer overall, amassing 953 runs in ten games at an average of 105.88, with four centuries and three fifties. This stellar performance not only cemented his status in domestic cricket but also caught the attention of the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises.
IPL Stardom and Challenges of Rinku Singh:
Selected by Kings XI Punjab in 2017 and later acquired by the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2018 for a substantial amount, Rinku Singh’s journey to IPL stardom faced hurdles. His participation in the Ramadan T20 Tournament in Abu Dhabi without BCCI permission led to a three-month ban. Despite the setback, his remarkable performance in the tournament, including a splendid 104 runs in the final, showcased his mettle.
In the IPL mega-auction of 2022, the Kolkata Knight Riders retained Rinku for Rs 55 lakhs, reaffirming their confidence in his abilities. His notable moment came in an IPL 2023 match against the Gujarat Titans, where he smashed five consecutive sixes in the last over, steering KKR to a dramatic victory. Rinku kept proving his shot-hitting abilities at crucial stages of the game, and a batter of a small height can send the ball to huge sixes.
Rinku Singh’s journey from the narrow lanes of Aligarh to the glitzy stadiums of the IPL reflects not just a cricketing tale but a testament to resilience and unyielding determination. Overcoming financial struggles, societal norms, and personal challenges, Rinku Singh has etched his name in the annals of Indian cricket, inspiring many aspiring talents along the way. His untold story is a celebration of passion, perseverance, and the triumph of an undying love for the game.