‘Build man a statue’: Australian commentator Mark Howard said this line on air when Scott Boland collected a six-wicket haul on his debut, against England at The Ashes. That was December 2021 Down Under. But in 2023, Mark’s words fit perfectly to describe the greatness of Rinku Singh, rather ‘Finisher Rinku’.
A month after pulling off the biggest heist in IPL history against the Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad, the UP cricketer did something similar on Monday night. But this time, the action took place in Eden Gardens. After Andre Russell’s dazzling stroke play in the penultimate over, KKR needed 6 more runs to gain 2 more league points. But as this IPL has been so far, the drama was bound to unfold in the final.
Russell ran out on the fifth ball, leaving Rinku to score 2 on the last. PBKS’s Arshdeep Singh bowled a full toss which Rinku bowled deep square leg right back for four runs. KKR moved up to fifth place, beating RCB, Punjab and Mumbai on the tally.
rinku the finisher
An uncapped player who finishes games for his team under pressure: KKR has found a gem in Rinku. It has taken him years to develop the relationship of a trusted player. But it’s not just the IPL. The Aligarh batsman has been at it, finishing games, since his early years.
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In an exclusive interview with News18 Cricketnexthis coach, Masood Uz Zafar Amini, said that Rinku has been a phenomenal finisher since his interschool days.
“About 13 years ago, I used to visit the sports stadium to watch cricket matches. I was a coach there. One day I noticed him and asked him: ‘Why do you come every day?’ He said that he wanted to play cricket,” Amini told Cricketnext.
“At the same time, an inter-school cricket tournament was about to take place. The tournament management found out about him. They approached him and asked him to play and get admission to a good school. He participated in the tournament and scored 54 runs not out on 32 balls. So I decided to work on it, I could play in India one day. Because he finished the matches very well,” he added.
Recalling his protégé’s exploits against the Gujarat Titans last month, Amini said that after Rinku broke the first two sixes, he had a belief that he would go for three more. She also revealed that Rinku could take those shots with such ease because he had practiced them before entering the tournament.
“After the first two sixes, I was sure he’s going for three more. He had practiced a lot those shots on the nets. He has trained to face short-pitch balls. In fact, he also plays the same way in matches at the local level.
“I even asked him why he practiced it so much. He said that some of them are necessary in the IPL sometimes,” Amini said.
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Now that Rinku has lit up IPL 2023 with his final skills, speculations about his call-up in India will start to crop up from time to time. Even Amini believes that his student is at a stage where he too can bat for India.
“Abhi wo is level par aa chukka hai ki wo India represents kare. (He is at the level where he can represent his country at the highest level.) Rest easy, we wish to see you in the blue cap of the Indian team. And also all of Aligarh,” Amini concluded.
Play for the merit of the ball
After posting an unbeaten 21 in 10 deliveries, Rinku echoed the same emotions as his coach. Speaking on the post-game show, he said he didn’t think much of the last ball; he didn’t either as he hit those five sixes. He came out like this because he was prepared.
“I didn’t think about the last ball. Even when I got to those five sixes, I hadn’t given much thought. He was playing on the merit of the ball. I had the belief in myself that I could finish the game. I’ve gotten used to it, sometimes I hit 5, sometimes 6 or 7. So I practice that way,” Rinku said.
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