Rahul Singh, a 23 years old, left arm spinner from Silchar, has recently been selected by Rajasthan Royals for as a net bowler in IPL 2020, which is about to take place in UAE. Rahul is one of the 4 other players from Assam who got the opportunity to bowl the IPL players in Dubai. Swagatam Roy, the Managing Editor of Cachar Chronicles, interacted with him. The interaction is being presented in the form of an interview below.
Q. What was your reaction and how did you feel when you got to know that you have been selected as a net bowler for a big IPL franchisee Rajasthan Royals?
A. I felt overwhelmed because there are many seniors and experienced international players to whom I am going to bowl, my happiness knew no bounds. And the most important thing is, I will learn so much and that is a thing which I love the most.
Q. Any Rajasthan Royals player whom you are excited and eager to bowl to?
A. I am looking forward mostly for Steve Smith. I have bowled to Sanju Sampson in other camps and also to Robin Uthappa.
Q. Do you play Ranji Trophy?
A. Yes, I play for Assam in Ranji trophy.
Q. So how was your journey from Silchar based cricketer to Rajasthan Royals net bowler?
A. It all goes back to 2011 when I played my first inter-school match as a pacer. Our then interschool coach, Satyajit Das Sir, asked me to be a pacer. During the first match I was hit towards every nook and corner of the ground mercilessly, later on we won the match but I was crying because of my performance. Satyajit sir assured me that nothing has happened and told me to attend the practice sessions in the evening. Sir later asked me if I can do spin bowling, to which I replied, if taught, I can for sure. Our next match was in 4 days and Satyajit Sir made sure that I was practicing an hour daily to improve. This is where my journey as a spinner began, then in the very next match I was able to take 2 wickets by giving away 10 runs in 5 overs. Later, in the same year I player under 15 inter-district where I player 3/4 match and was able to take 17 wickets. Then I played under 17 too. In 2015 I was the highest wicket taker in the district for under-19 with 33 wickets in 4 matches and for this I got the call for state trials, it was during the 2015-16 season for under-19, I was dropped from the team after a single match due to bad performance. I was broken which acted as a fuel for my motivation to work harder. I started practicing 4/5 hours a day without a break. And the next season I again got a chance and was the 2nd highest wicket taker in the under-19 team of the state in one day games. I was in stand-by from the east zone for under-19. I was ranked no.1 in under 19 level and highest wicket taker with 54 wickets in 8 matches for which I was awarded M.A. Chindambaram Trophy from B.C.C.I. in bangalore. I was fortunate enough then, to share the stage with players like Virat Kohli and mane others. I continued playing Ranji Trophy and grinding with time. Earlier this year, that is 2020, we got to know that Rajasthan Royals team was coming to Guwahati to practice, so a list of net bowlers was published by the State Association in which I got selected. We thought we will just go on and bowl in the nets and come back home. The camp was of 4 days in Guwahati, on the 2nd day we got to know that the Association will select 4 players and will take them to Nagpur for net bowling. I was selected among the 4 bowlers from Assam, the State association told us that we were selected and will go to Nagpur along with the team. I went to Nagpur on 2nd March, 2020 and started practicing with the teams from the very next day but due to the Coronavirus outbreak we had to come back earlier than expected. We thought that the IPL was cancelled this year due to the lockdown and pandemic situation. Suddenly on 13th August, we were informed by the state association secretary that IPL had been scheduled at UAE and we were selected for net bowling as well and they need our passports.
Q. Currently are you in Mumbai with the teams?
A. Yes currently the whole team is staying at the same hotel but for precautionary measures, no one is allowed to meet other players as of now, before everyone’s coronavirus test comes in. I was even tested and results came in as negative.
Q. Normally the players basically from silchar who are into Cricket and Football face the situation , where they get to hear that sports has little scope to grow forward and that it is not something which can provide an economically stable job. You have just started to gain success. So what message would you like to give to the youngsters and their parents who want to grow in this field?
A. I just want to say yes, there are scopes of success but you have to work hard without which you will never be successful in anything, be it sports or any other profession. For example there are many players like Prakash Bhagat who played Ranji Trophy for Assam, then Raju Das, Pritam da these names have hard work behind them. Without hard work, it is not possible. We have a lot of talent in Cachar but if they work hard enough then these talent will come out very soon. The players of Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj dedicatedly needs guidence so that they get support from their home. My mother and brother once didn’t want me to play even, then Niranjan Sir from DSA, Cachar went to my home to convince my parents to support me for my passion in cricket but my mother wasn’t keen enough to let me loose in Cricket field as my 9th boards were up on the sleeves, but my elder sister supported me so much with my Cricket that she even quarreled at home for me. My mother and brother weren’t convinced because I was also good in academics. These days my mother says that she is grateful that she didn’t stop me from playing cricket as I have achieved something atleast. The parents of this generation is way understanding then ours, even when I go to DSA, I see parents accompanying their kid to practice whereas we never got the same privilege, and this feels so good. If players play dedicatedly with proper practice, they can surely climb the ladder of success without any doubt.
Q. So you are solely a bowler or an all-rounder?
A. Currently I am a bowler but I am trying my best on my batting skills to be an all-rounder, the grind is going on.
Q. Do you have any plans on how will you bowl to the experienced senior national or international players?
A. I have some plans, but after a day of practice it will be clear because without knowing the condition of the wicket, planning something will be in vain. The proper planning can only be drafted after studying the wicket carefully. I have plans but lets see what happens.
Q. We all have someone who is behind our success, who has pushed us, who has shown us the correct direction. So whom will you give the credit of your success particularly?
A. First of all Satyajit Sir who brought me into this field where I am standing today, then my elder sister Priyanka Singh, who stood up against my parents for me and Bishal Tiwari who took me to DSA for the first time and was my assistant coach. Then there are Prakash Bhagat Da, ex Ranji player, Niranjan Sir, they support me a lot, my parents are also now in complete favour of mine. And there is someone whom I will never forget, he is Jaydeep Singh from Silchar, he is someone who dragged me out of my bed for practice in the mornings and, I remember, once my shoes were damaged for which he gave me his own shoes so that I could play because I got selected, I will never forget these things because these things helped me reach where I am today.
Q. What is your future planning? Where do you want to see yourself in future?
A. I have only one dream for which I am working so hard and that is wearing the Blue Jersey (Indian cricket jersey). Rest, I just want everyone to pray for me so that I can be successful for the rest of my journeys and that I can acheive that Indian Cricket Jersey very soon.
We wish Mr. Rahul Singh all the best for his future endeavours. May he be an example from Silchar.
(The article has been written by Mriganka Bhattacharjee)