A famous Maori proverb says – “Many stars cannot be concealed by small clouds.”
The person being talked about here is one of such stars, who amidst all odds came out as a true fighter and eventually made it count. 20-year-old fast bowler Nathu Singh is a rising Indian star, who wants to be the fastest bowler in the world. The young bowler from Rajasthan, who belongs to very modest family, knew that it was not possible for his father to provide him with professional coaching and kept his dream to himself.
The journey from a tennis ball to a leather ball has been full of struggle. Until three years ago, he used to play in his neighbourhood, bowling speedy deliveries, which were way too fast for his fellow mates. It was these friends who decided to persuade his father to send him to a cricket academy.
Bharat Singh, his father who worked in a wire factory in Jaipur had just enough income to get his family a two time meal. In spite of that, he put all his savings to fulfill his son’s dream. He went to Surana Academy in Jaipur where the fees was Rs 10,000 a year. His father told him only one thing – “Whatever I have I will put in. Let’s see for two months how you go.”
The coaches spotted the spark at once and suggested his father to give them some more time. They even subsidised the fees looking at his family background. By the end of the year, he was named in the Rajasthan under-19 squad. He was even admitted at the MRF Pace Academy, where he impressed the all-time great Glenn Mcgrath. He was mighty pleased with his bowling and predicted that Nathu will go on to become a successful fast bowler for India.
A call for Ranji Trophy was on the cards. He made his debut against Delhi earlier this season and made the headlines by taking 7-87, dismissing the likes of Gautam Gambhir. After the end of the match, Rajasthan Cricket Association’s convener Amrit Mathur received a call from Delhi’s coach, Vijay Dahiya. Based on the feedback he got from Gautam Gambhir, he asked Mathur to keep an eye on him and see that he is not bowling too much as it might ruin his pace and rhythm. He said – “We were talking, Gautam mentioned this boy and said that after a long time he has seen new India material, please make sure he is not ruined by over-bowling.”
Mathur also received a call from Rahul Dravid, who said “this boy is good, please keep an eye on him.” The bigger picture is still left. India’s chief selector Sandeep Patil noticed the X factor in the boy and picked him for the tour game against the mighty South African side. It was a dream come true for him. He got to play against the best, something that players with years of Ranji experience couldn’t do. It was all like a fairy tale; a young, tall lad catches everyone’s eye as soon as he makes it to the state team.
In the two-day game against the Proteas, he had only one wicket (Dean Elgar) to show but he made his mark with his pace. While talking to BCCI.tv, Nathu said – “Everything about my bowling is natural.”
“I still bowl the same way I used to when I started playing cricket. The only thing I have learned is to adjust my length according to the pitch and the match situation.”
“I have a natural in-swinger and I get away swing with the same action and angle. I am not working on any aspect regarding swinging the ball. I am only focusing on getting my lengths right. I have a few variations as well, like the back-of-hand slower one and bouncer, and the cutters. I have learnt all these on my own, bowling with the tennis ball,” he added.
Speaking about his childhood dream, Nathu said – “I loved watching Shoaib Akhtar bowl. He was so quick. I watched him and decided that I want to bowl so fast that I break his record. And for that I have to work really hard, for which I am absolutely prepared. My life has changed a lot. I used to watch a lot of cricket on the television as a kid. And every time I watched a fast bowler run in, I would say to myself, ‘I want to bowl like this one day”
Nathu has an airy bowling stride and he puts in a lot of effort to make his bowling talk. He is happy with all the media attention, but scared at the same time.
“It makes me feel really happy but at the same time it also scares me,” Nathu said. “So many people have such high hopes from me and what if I fail to live up to it?”
“But the moment I feel I am thinking about these things too much, I stop myself and bring my focus back to the present. I tell myself to concentrate on the cricket that I am playing right now and give it my all to do well in the next match. Rest of the things will take care of itself,” he added.
This 20-year-old talent is exciting to watch. He can fulfill the quota of that genuine fast bowler India has been looking for since British rule. It might sound exaggerated, but the truth is that it takes a few months for an Indian bowler to transform from a fast bowler to a medium pacer. We can only hope that he stays injury free and represents India on a bigger platform.
ES congratulates him on making it in the Board President XI side and hopes that he continues to bowl at 140+.
I am basically a Cricketopath pursuing civil engineering at VIT University. Well a line that i read somewhere pretty much sums up what i am- "She asked me- Why do you write?" I replied- Why do you breathe.... A poet, singer and a blogger, besides being a handy engineer.