It is known that Rinku Singh, the Kolkata Knight Riders batsman, comes from a very modest background. Taking up the game was not an easy decision for him; he has revealed that his father was against it and would “beat me up” whenever he wanted to play cricket. Then he won a bike as a man-of-the-series award in a school tournament in 2012, and thereafter, his father “never touched me again.” Rinku gifted a car to his father after KKR bought him for Rs 80 lakh in the 2018 Indian Premier League auction.
“My father didn’t really want me to play cricket. He always used to insist that I should focus on studies,” Rinku told the franchise website kkr.in.
“There was this tournament in Aligarh and Delhi Public School supremo Swapnil Jain was present during the match. We beat their team and I came up with the best performance. If I remember it right, I was unbeaten on 68. After seeing my batting, he actually got me admitted to his school. I played for DPS for a few years.
“In 2012, they had organised a World Cup where teams from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh came to play. I scored 354 runs and took 8 wickets, because of which I was given the Man-of-the-Series award and the bike. My parents were present on the ground. My father used to often beat me up whenever I wanted to play cricket but after this match, he never touched me again.”
Rinku had gone for Mumbai Indians trials before the auction in 2018 and a blistering knock in a trial game made him hopeful that the franchise would pick him. Instead, due to KKR and India spinner Kuldeep Yadav’s efforts, Rinku was eventually signed by the Kolkata franchise, who outbid MI in the auction to snap him up. That moment changed Rinku and his family’s life.
“In 2018, I actually went for the Mumbai Indians trials before the auctions. I hit 95 runs in 31 balls in one of those games. So, I was actually expecting Mumbai to pick me and not KKR. Kuldeep bhai told me that he already had a word with the KKR management about me and there was a chance,” the Uttar Pradesh batsman said.
“So, I was watching the auctions with a lot of anticipation. MI and KKR are both big names in IPL. On the auction day, I had secluded myself and watched the bidding all alone. My family watched it separately. It was a great feeling when the money soared and I finally was sold for the amount I got picked for.
“I was excited that I would get to play for such a big team and would finally be able to put an end to the financial crisis at home. Honestly, they (family) are very happy. We had never experienced such a windfall before IPL happened. We now have our own house. And I also gifted a car to my father.”
The association with KKR also contributed in improving his domestic performance. Rinku gives credit to his training at the KKR academy under assistant coach Abhishek Nayar for his breakthrough 2018-19 Ranji Trophy season (953 runs from 10 matches at an average of 105.88 with four centuries).
“I did not do well in the one-dayers (before Ranji Trophy) and I had spoken to Abhishek sir about it. I told him about the difficulties I was facing in batting and that I wanted to practice with him. He called me over and we trained a lot. I do not think I have ever batted so much in my life as much as I did there. For almost five hours every day I used to continue batting and my hands even bled at times. The perseverance paid off in the Ranji Trophy later that season.”