Who is Rinku Singh? Why is he gaining popularity in IPL 2023?

The UP boy who has propelled himself to stardom over night with one magnificent innings.

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Almost every quintessential small-town boy in India, dreams of making it big in cricket at some point in his life. Rinku Singh is one such boy who has managed to realize that dream recently. Rinku has been a regular feature of the domestic cricket scene since 2012, when he was selected for the under-16 team representing Uttar Pradesh. Since then, he has seen a slow and steady rise in the level of his game and the heights his name has reached in the sport. This was made all the more apparent when he played a match winning innings for the Kolkata Knight Riders, sending the ball out of the park 5 times in five deliveries. The Knight Riders needed 29 runs to win in 5 balls and Rinku towed them over the line with 30, the highest possible score he could have achieved. An impressive feat on its own, it is all the more special considering the fact that he has broken many records through this endeavor. Prior to Rinku’s awe-inspiring innings, MS Dhoni held the record for winning the match with the most runs scored in the last over, having scored 23 runs in the final over against Axar Patel and kings IX Punjab. Not only has Rinku set a new record in the IPL but in all of T-20 cricket as well, since no one has matched this performance at any level, international or otherwise.

As wonderful as it is to see a young Indian cricketer receive the praise and affection he deserves, it is just as poignant to hear the back story of Rinku Singh. Born to a poor farming family in the north-Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Rinku spent his early years playing cricket and helping his father deliver cooking gas cylinder along with his brothers. He spoke of his early days recently, recounting that his father wasn’t pleased with his propensity towards cricket and always nudged him towards academics. His mother on the other hand, was far more supportive even lending him money when he needed it to play cricket. Money was always an issue though and he could hardly ever afford to pay for the teams he wanted to play with. Kits and equipment were also difficult to acquire but he was helped along the way by a few dear coaches and mentors who saw immense potential in him. The family was also under the cosh of a 5-lakh rupee loan which was very hard to repay. In fact, Rinku recounted the time when he had to divert his earnings from domestic cricket towards paying the loan. When he received a motorcycle as a prize for his performance in a tournament, he remembers using it to help with his father’s deliveries. That is why Rinku whole heartedly believes that God is making up for the hard times he had to face in the past.

Rinku was first noticed in 2021 by Kings IX Punjab who bought him after his impressive outings in domestic cricket. Sadly though, he spent the season on the bench. His next tryst in the IPL was with the Mumbai Indians, who invited him for a trial. Rinku put in an impressive performance, scoring 91 runs in just 31 balls. This season, Rinku was looking at the IPL auction with a lot of optimism, hoping to be snagged by a team for 20 lakhs or so. To his pleasant surprise, he was bought by the Knight Riders for 80 lakhs. For a boy who lived with his parents and 5 siblings in a small two-bedroom house, this was a major shift in his fortunes. He didn’t know though, that soon he would be the darling of the Eden Garden and the many cricket fans in Kolkata. His 5 successive 6’s to beat the Gujrat Titans, have propelled him to instant stardom and recognition among Indian cricket fans.

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