Nathu Singh, 20, was just another pace bowler from Rajasthan till Mumbai Indians picked him up for Rs 3.20 crore for the upcoming IPL season. A resident of Jaipur’s Muralipura and son of a factory worker, he faced many difficulties while pursuing his dream of becoming a cricketer. His seven-wicket haul in the match against Delhi on his Ranji Trophy debut in October last year, catapulted him into the limelight. Even with all the moolah coming his way, Nathu Singh just wants to play good cricket and build a house for his parents. Rajasthan Post caught up with him…
How did you get attracted to cricket?
I used to watch cricket on TV and dreamt of becoming a cricketer. I started with playing gulli cricket but somehow always nurtured the dream of playing cricket in the big league.
Were your parents supportive of your playing cricket?
My parents used to scold me for playing cricket the whole day as I do not come a very rich family. But I never listened and did what my heart told me. I played for long hours from morning till evening. Cricket is the only passion I have. I had no interest in studies. I used to go out of my house at 7 am and not return before 5 pm, all the while just playing cricket.
Is training necessary to become a good cricketer? Was it difficult for you in terms of training?
After completing my school, I knew it had to be cricket for me. But it wasn’t enough to play gulli cricket. So I convinced my parents to send me to a cricket academy but my father’s meager income of around Rs 8000 monthly was not enough. So I could train in the academy for only six to seven months. We had to pay the subsidized Rs 10,000 but even that was a big amount for my father who had to borrow money to send me to the academy. We had to repay the loan at a monthly interest rate of two percent.
Training at an academy is expensive and later I could earn some money playing tennis-ball-cricket league matches but all money went into buying my cricket kit. I can bowl with a speed of upto 140 kmph but to take it further, I feel it is necessary to get some kind of expert training.
Are you hopeful that one day you would play for the national team, despite corruption charges and match fixing so rampant in the game now?
I have heard about corruption and match-fixing charges but never felt it as I have met cricketers like Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh, who have mentored me and tried to help out. Gautam Gambhir’s support helped me earn a place in Board President XI’s against South Africa.
I am sure one day my dream for playing in the Indian team will be fulfilled. Senior players helped with shoes and equipment when I had none.
Which cricketer has inspired you the most?
Shoaib Akhtar is somebody who inspires me. Whenever he bowls, his target and eyes are on the batsman. I also try doing the same.
You have had many successes in the recent past, Ranji debut, part of Board President’s XI squad and now IPL? Where do you see yourself in the near future with all these successes?
My only passion and interest is cricket. I do not think in terms of money, never thought about it. For now I just want to play good cricket in IPL, improve upon my skills and try to get selected in the Indian team.