CHENNAI: Indian Premier League (IPL) has produced many rags-to-riches stories over the years. Ever since its inception in 2008, the league has not only unearthed talents but also made them millionaires with its franchises splashing money on these budding cricketers.
However, it is difficult to come across a story where a youngster, who has yet not made his India debut, decides to give back to the sport which has changed his life forever. Rinku Singh, who plies his trade for Kolkata Knight Riders in the league, is going to set a benchmark in this regard.
The 25-year-old left-hand batter from Uttar Pradesh became the toast of the nation when he hit five consecutive sixes in the last over to fetch an improbable win for his team a few days back. Rinku might not be among the highest-earning cricketers of the IPL but that couldn't deter him from setting up a hostel for upcoming cricketers looking to make it big but somehow couldn't achieve their dreams due to financial constraints.
Hailing from a modest family wherein his father Khanchandra Singh used to deliver LPG cylinders and his brothers -- Sonu (an auto-rickshaw driver) and Mukul (mopped floors at a coaching centre) -- were forced to contribute to make the ends meet, life was not kind to Rinku in his initial years as a budding cricketer.
Given the hardships he faced, the all-rounder, who is also a right-arm off-break bowler, always wanted talented youngsters to have a smooth ride and his dream will turn into a reality when the hostel becomes operational next month. "He always wanted to build a hostel for young players, who do not have financial resources to pursue their dreams. As he is financially sound now, he has decided to make it a reality," Masooduz-Zafar Amini, Rinku's childhood coach from Aligarh, told this daily.
Rinku made his Ranji debut in 2016 and was picked by Kings XI Punjab the next year. The Kolkata franchise bought him for `80 lakh in 2018 and he has been playing for them since then. Amini started training Rinku around 12-13 years ago and has witnessed his struggles and rise to fame. The coach now runs Aligarh Cricket School and Academy over 15-acre land owned by the district association.
The hostel is coming up at the venue. "The work started around three months ago with Rinku watching the progress from close quarters before heading to join his team. The hostel will have 14 rooms and each one can accommodate four trainees. A shed and a pavilion are also being constructed. Separate toilets are also being constructed. These trainees can have food at the canteen being run at the place. It will cost around `50 lakh and the whole expenditure is being borne by Rinku," added the coach.
Rinku's eldest sibling, Sonu, who will look after the day-to-day affairs of the hostel, is happy that his brother's dream is finally coming true. "We delivered gas cylinders together when our father was not able to do that but we always wanted him to focus on cricket. The sacrifices we made bore fruits as he not only pulled us out of poverty but also decided to build a hostel for poor cricketers," Sonu told this daily.
The Academy, at present, has trainees hailing from nearby cities and living in rented houses. As most of them are from modest backgrounds, the hostel will help them to get accommodation at a minimal rate. "Around a dozen of our trainees will shift to the hostel. Presently, they pay hefty rent but here they can get rooms and food at a marginal cost. Besides, they don't have to waste time and money on travel as well," said the coach.
A small gymnasium is also being planned at the facility. "Almost 90 per cent of the work is done. It will get ready by next month. Rinku will inaugurate it once he is back from the IPL. Hopefully, this facility will make life easier for these youngsters," signed off the coach.