The Indian Premier League auction thrusts virtual unknowns into the limelight year and year, and the heart-warming stories have been that of pacers Mohammed Siraj from Hyderabad and T Nataraj from Tamil Nadu this time.
Add Aligarh teenager, Rinku Singh, to that list. The 19-year-old batsman too has an almost rags to recognition tale to tell, after being bought by Kings XI Punjab at Monday’s IPL auction held in Bengaluru.
The franchise bought him at the base price of Rs 10 lakh, which may pale in comparison with the riches poured out for even many other domestic players, but a dream come true for the player from the hinterland.
Rinku Singh is the son of an LPG cylinder delivery man, whose nine-member family has found shelter in a tin shed they call home, within the premises of the company he works for.
“Batting legend Virender Sehwag paid Rs 10 lakh to take Rinku in the Kings XI Punjab team,” gushed Masud-uz-Zafar Amini, one of Rinku’s coaches. The former India stalwart is the team’s head of cricket operations and strategy.
Rinku’s attacking knocks
Sehwag could well have seen a bit of him in Rinku. He started playing in 2009, and three years later was selected in the Uttar Pradesh U-16 team, then making it to the U-19 side. Playing a match in Agra, he smashed 154 runs to draw early attention to his talent.”
The 2014 Vijay Hazare Trophy inter-state one-day tournament reinforced his abilities after he hit 206 and 154 runs in two matches, and he broke into the UP Ranji Trophy team last year.
Thrilled with the news, local cricketers and Rinku’s coaches and kin thronged the sports stadium on Tuesday. Rinku was thrilled with his IPL selection and is already dreaming bigger.
“It’s a dream come true. I am now hoping I soon get to sport the blue jersey of the national cricket team,” he told HT.
While Rinku’s father, Khanchand, delivers LPG cylinders, one of his five brothers is an autorickshaw driver and another has a job in a coaching centre. He also has a sister.
Rinku’s family dreams
A delighted Khanchand said: “Our son will now play in the IPL. We are hoping he also gets to show his talent in the national team. We will leave no stone unturned to ensure all his dreams are fulfilled.”
Rinku added: “I wouldn’t have reached this level had it not been for the support I got from (coaches) Zeeshan bhai, Suresh Sharma Sir and Masud-uz-Zafar Amini.”
T Natarajan, the Tamil Nadu Ranji pacer, who will be Rinku’s teammate, was bought for Rs 3 crore from a base price of Rs 10 lakh. He has risen from the obscurity of playing tennis-ball cricket in Salem town while supporting the frugal income of his father, who works in a power loom, and mother, who runs a roadside food stall.
Siraj’s father is an autorickshaw driver who has helped his son take big steps. He has been roped in by IPL champions, Sunrisers Hyderabad.