Rinku Singh pulls behind square (Image Source: BCCI)

Whenever we encounter a roadblock in our lives, we tend to look for inspiration to cling to. That inspiration could be anything: motivational quotes, songs, speeches, movies, etc. But, nothing in this world is more inspirational than seeing someone convert his/her dreams into reality despite all the odds stacked against them right in front of our eyes.

Indian cricket is full of such inspirational stories where young boys and girls have defied incredible odds stacked against them to carve out a fairytale for the ages.

As you read this, we are pretty sure that one of the first names that must have stormed your mind is of a certain left-handed batsman from Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, named Rinku Singh.

Rinku is just a reflection of an average aspirational Indian, who is born with both their hands tied thanks to the prevailing financial situation of their family. This often leads to us giving up on our dreams and resigning to fate.

In Rinku, we all see a person similar to us, the only difference being that unlike us, he never bowed down to the circumstances and extinguished the passion that sparked in his heart and mind ever since he came across this beautiful sport, cricket. 

Rinku Singh with his family (Image Source: TOI)

Born on October 12, 1997, to an economically challenged family in Aligarh, Rinku was pretty clear in his head that he would one day go on and become a cricketer.

His father - an LPG Cylinder delivery boy was dead against him pursuing cricket.

But, Rinku, like Arjun, had set his eyes solely on one thing and one thing only, and that was: playing cricket at the highest level.

“I only wanted to play cricket as I knew there was nothing else for me,” Rinku told TOI last year after his heroics against the Gujarat Titans. 

He even refused the job to mop the floor at a coaching center and didn't even have any backup in case his cricket career didn't take off, but his immense self-belief and incredible work ethic ensured that the Aligarh lad kept climbing one stair after another on his way to superstardom.

“I hadn’t even started playing cricket when I was asked to take up a job along with my brother. It was to mop the floor of a coaching centre. I refused. I didn’t have academics to back me, yet I chose cricket.”

While his father didn't support his aspirations, his mother was a constant driving force behind his endeavors, even going to the extent of borrowing money to ensure that her son could travel for cricket tournaments.

Rinku had a natural flair with the bat, which never used to go unnoticed even during his school days. He eventually won over his father after impressing his ‘Old Man’ with a stellar performance in the final of a tournament in his school.

After having managed to win the trust and support of his father, it was only a matter of time before the young lad would go on to enter the hearts and minds of cricket fans in this country.

Read: Skillful, Disciplined, Leader: Renuka Singh Thakur's Rise to Cricket Stardom

2013-22: A decade of unrelenting grind, patience and hard work from Rinku Singh

Rinku with his parents (Image Source: TOI)

Having started playing professional cricket in 2013, Rinku slowly but steadily established himself as one of the most exciting hard-hitting young batsmen, and a couple of years later, he was roped in UP’s U19 team.

During the same year, the Aligarh southpaw turned heads during a practice match conducted by Mumbai Indians’ as he smashed a whirlwind 31-ball 95.

The southpaw made his domestic debut for the senior UP side in 2014, and over the course of the next 4 seasons, he established himself as one of their pillars in the batting-unit.

Rinku was picked by the Punjab Kings in 2017, but it was only in the following years’ mega-auction that his life changed for good when he was bought by the Kolkata Knight Riders for INR 80 Lakhs.

It was a fairytale moment him, because it was a vindication of his iron-willed self-belief and unrelenting pursuit for excellence

He could now fulfil not only his dreams, but also the unrequited aspirations of his parents, which is basically a dream for every kid.

Rinku Singh on bagging his maiden contract with KKR

“No one in my family had seen so much money. We could pay off our loans and even buy a house.”

However, Rinku knew it better than most that nothing would be served on a platter for him. It helped that he had lived his life with zero expectations, and so when he didn't get the desired opportunities during the first 3 seasons at KKR, he used that time to observe senior players in the squad, take insights and improve his game beyond recognition.

He was just waiting for his opportunity, and the moment finally arrived during the 2022 season, where he chipped in with 174 runs in the middle-order at a strike rate of 148.72.

Read: Lotus in the Making: Yashasvi Jaiswal's Journey from Struggle to Success

2023: Rinku Singh's year of glory

Rinku Singh had a fairytale IPL 2023 (Image Source: IPLT20)

Rinku’s moment of glory eventually came during the 2023 season, when he smashed Gujarat Titans’ left-arm seamer for five consecutive sixes in the 20th over to seal an improbable victory for the Knight Riders.

One of the most striking feature about Rinku is that he looks so calm at the crease. If one isn't aware of the match-situation while he is at the crease, then you can never gauge if he is under pressure or not.

His poker face, and supreme self belief, coupled with incredible hitting talent, was on full display during that historic evening as he pulled off a magnanimous heist without even breaking a sweat.

It didn't surprise those who have followed his journey in domestic cricket over the years, but the sheer magnanimity of his feat was such that even his most ardent followers were forced to pinch themselves to confirm if it was real.

Of course, it was real! It was a moment that was built on a decade of hard work, sacrifices, and unreal work ethic and Arjun-esque focus on his target. It was a moment that Rinku has played so many times in his head over these years that when it eventually turned into reality, he gave an impression that it was no big deal.

Rinku continued with his excellent run throughout the season, eventually finishing with 474 runs @ 59.25/149.53.

Rinku Singh (Image Source: BCCI)

A call-up to the national team seemed inevitable, and the dream eventually turned into reality on August 18, 2023, when he made his T20I debut against Ireland in Dublin.

Rinku carried the same form in Indian colours during the recent series against Australia as he consistently provided a match-winning impetus during the middle-overs; something India have missed desperately in the past.

His 22* (14) helped the Men in Blue gun down 209 in the first match and he followed it up with a stylish and nonchalant 9-ball 31* to help the hosts an insurmountable total of 235/4.

Later in the series, we saw Rinku’s ability to adjust to the situation to the hilt as he, along with Jitesh Sharma, weathered the storm after India had been reduced to 66/3, and ended up posting a match-winning 29-ball 46.

Singh eventually finished 105 runs in 4 innings @ 52.50/175.00, but he was not done yet. The next challenge facing him were the obscure conditions of South Africa.  And, what did he do? He announced himself to the rainbow nation by creaming a sumptuous drive off the very first delivery he faced in the country.

Rinku went on to smash an unbeaten 39-ball 68 with the help of 9 fours and a couple of sixes, and while India went on to lose the match, the UP-lad had proved once again that he is here to stay and the construction of the T20 team cannot be imagined without a brick called Rinku.

An year ago, Rinku was no way near the national T20 set-up, and now, we can't even think of our starting XI without him. If that's not success, then what is?

Featured Image Credit: BCCI