Rinku Singh shot to stardom with his five consecutive sixes off Gujarat Titans seamer Yash Dayal in the final over of a tense IPL 2023 contest. The KKR batter remained consistent for Kolkata Knight Riders right through the season and enhanced his reputation of a finisher. Riding high on his consistent returns in the domestic circuit for Uttar Pradesh and finishing touches in the IPL, the aggressive southpaw was named in India’s T20I squad for Ireland series. The 25-year-old made instant impact with a quick-fire 38 in the only opportunity he got with the bat.
Fresh from the debut, Rinku turned up for Meerut Mavericks in the inaugural UPT20 and announced his arrival with three consecutive sixes in the Super Over. His team ended as runners-up in the tournament and the left-hander will now begin his preparations for the Asian Games.
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Part of the Ruturaj Gaikwad-led squad, Rinku doesn’t want to look too far ahead and is very excited to meet Neeraj Chopra during the Asian Games. In an exclusive conversation with News18 CricketNext, Rinku talks about the viral picture of his parents wearing India jersey, the feeling of hearing national anthem on the ground and how he manages to remain calm under pressure.
Five sixes in the IPL and now three sixes in the Super Over in the UPT20. How do you remain so calm under pressure?
There is always pressure but it’s important to control yourself during those situations. It is important to hold your breathing during that, stay calm and most importantly keep believing in yourself. It becomes easier to deal with pressure situations when you keep following these things.
What kind of preparations happen behind the scenes for the position and situation you bat in?
I am quite used to playing at No.5 and No.6, have been playing at this position since a long time now. Ever since I have been playing for Uttar Pradesh, I have been playing at that number. Phase matches mai batting aati hai, to idea ho gaya hai kaise khelte hai. I train keeping my position in mind. When I practice at KKR academy under Abhishek Nayar sir, I keep that in mind and he helps me a lot with my batting. He helps me work on my breathing and how to keep focus in tough situations.
A couple of years back, UP wanted you to captain the side. Even this year, you didn’t lead in UP20. Why doesn’t Rinku lead a side?
I have never done captaincy. I like it but don’t do it. Kuch matches mai kari hai to mera dimag block ho jaata hai. My nature is such that I want to play freely and don’t want to take load of captaincy. UPCA also offered me captaincy but I refused with folded hands because I want to play with a free mind.
How much do you think a league like UPT20 will benefit local talent in the state?
It’s a high quality league where lot of tight games have been played. So many super overs too. Bahut naam ho gaya hai humari league ka. So many young boys are doing well. If you look at our team, Swastik Chikkara is doing so well and has hit three hundreds. It is a very good platform for young players to showcase their talent. It is good for various families to because they can see their kid perform on a big stage now.
As far as your personal career is concerned, what are your plans or targets for the future? Also, recently saw a picture of your parents wearing your India jersey, what’s the story behind that?
I have just played for India, abhi to aur khelna hai. I don’t focus too much on future and want to stay in the present. Aage ki sochta hu to saari cheese kharab hone lagti hai. Double mehnat karni hai… and want to play continuously for India. Story behind the jersey picture is simple. I made them wear the Indian jersey in front of the house where my journey started. It was my parents dream. Mera India khelna sapna tha unka… IPL to bahut log khelte hai. Wo sapna pura hua to T shirt pehnai.
Have parents now agreed to shift to your new house?
No, no. They stay in the old house only. They have been living there since a long time and want to stay there only. Unka man wahi lagta hai.
When are they finally going to see a match in the stadium now? Any request for World Cup matches?
Even I am busy now so will make them watch my match only whenever it happens next. Have told them in the past too but they are scared of sitting in flights. So let’s see.
Asian Games is your next assignment. Any wish list in India? Any athlete you want to take a selfie with?
Haan… Neeraj (Chopra) bhaiya ke saath. Unhi ko dekhta hai, unhi ka naam zyaada chal raha hai. I am excited to meet him. Cricket is happening there so a lot of excitement on that front too, really want to do well for the team and win gold. Aur kya badi baat ho sakti hai.
And then the feeling of hearing national anthem when that happens…
It was a great feeling to hear the national anthem when we lined up during that Ireland series. Bahut acchi feeling thi..
Five sixes was a rare feat but Rinku Singh is more than those sixes, right? A consistent performer in domestic circuit for years.
Five sixes is a big thing, pehle ye cheez kabhi hui nahi hai. Whenever my well-wishers meet and talk to me about five sixes, I tell them maine aur bhi inning kheli hai un 5 chakko ke alawa (laughs). They also remember me because it has rarely happened in cricket. Five sixes in a tight chase in the final over is rare.