'Been working hard for 10 years; all my efforts have paid off' - Rinku Singh after shining in Dublin
Rinku Singh's maiden T20I innings for India amplified his abilities and promise to be a game-changer down the order for the team as he blasted a 21-ball 38 in Dublin in the second T20I versus Ireland. The UP and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) maverick overcame a slow start to bludgeon the ball in the end-overs phase and take India to a massive 185/5.
Standing at 15* off 15 balls at one stage, Rinku switched the beast mode on in the momentum-swinging 19th over of the first-innings, hitting Barry McCarthy for a four and two sixes to finally get going. He then smashed pacer Mark Adair for another maximum in the 20th over to give a brief advert of his capabilities for the team.
It was this innings on a slower surface than the one these two teams played on Friday that the commentators deemed to be the difference in the end and rewarded Rinku Singh with a 'Player of the Match' for his first innings at the international stage.
The youngster called it the culmination of years of hardwork put into his cricket and climbing up the ladder from domestic to IPL to the top-level game in India colours after extremely humble beginnings.
Rinku Singh on special first innings for India
Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, the 25-year-old said the experienced gained by being in the thick of things in the challenging end-overs stage for KKR in the last two editions of the IPL helped him walk in at a critical stage at No.5 on Sunday and give India the desired push towards the finish line.
"I am feeling very good. I was trying to do what I have done in the IPL. I was very confident and tried to stay calm," Rinku said. "The hard work that I have done, has been working hard for 10 years. The hard work that I did gets paid off with such contributions. The first game I batted, I get the Player of the Match, and it could not get any happier."
A sense of calm and composure about Rinku even when he was enduring a slow start was vindicative of IPL experience rubbing onto these young talents and giving them confidence to eventually pack a punch.
While 15* off 15 would remind the left-hander of the work he perhaps still requires to do on his strike-rotation ability, especially against spin, Rinku accelerating from there to reach 38 off the next six balls must have got fans reminiscing of his amazing performances in IPL 2023 for KKR.
He slammed 474 runs in 14 innings at a strike-rate of 149.53 with four half-centuries to break the door open for India T20I selection.