Age: 20, Team: Rajasthan
It’s not uncommon for young tearaways to have tattoos. It’s, however, not common for them to ink the text ‘Mom Dad ‘ on their body. It’s also uncommon to have Indian boys bowling around 140 kmph. Say hello to the surprise of this summer – 20-year old Nathu Singh who promises to be the great big hope from Rajasthan.
Not many have seen him yet but those who have are filled with hope. Like the chief coach of MRF Pace Academy Senthilnathan and Glenn McGrath, the head coach. “He averages around 140 kmph in a spell. And in a five-over spell, he can even touch 145 kmph a few deliveries,” Senthilnathan says.
The reason for the tattoo on the inner part of his left arm seems self evident. Undeterred by the lack of finances — the father sweats it out in a wire factory in Jaipur — he pushed his son to play cricket.
“It was really difficult for my father to allow me to play cricket. But then he sacrificed a lot and helped me enroll in an academy in Sikkar. Whatever I am now is because of my mother and father. And that is why I got this tattoo done,” says Nathu.
It all had started with tennis ball cricket when the eyes of a relative fell on him.“I was in eighth standard and must be around 12 years when I used to play with the tennis ball. One of my relatives told my father that I should join leather ball cricket and make me join a club. And my father pushed me to join.”
Finances weren’t the only obstacle for the youngster. Nathu says he had to deal with favoritism in his hometown.
“I used to play in Jaipur as a kid and once made it into the city’s u-16 side. I bowled really well and picked up a few wickets. But I played just one game because the team picked experienced bowlers over me and I never got a chance again in that season. So I desperately wanted to join an academy and the coach here advised me to go to Sikkar,” Nathu explains.
Shifting to Sikkar from Jaipur proved a blessing as he came under the supervision of the secretary Subash Joshi who encouraged him and the subsequent performances helped him earn a Zonal call, which eventually led to a stint in the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore last year.
At the NCA, he ran into Venkatesh Prasad, former India bowler, who further egged him on to continue bowling fast. Soon, a stint at MRF Pace Foundation came along, and where he impressed McGrath and Senthilnathan with his control.
Sharp and nippy
At a test conducted in the pace foundation, Nathu clocked 140kmph regularly. “Nathu is a bright prospect for the country,” Senthilnathan says. “He has the speed and control to succeed. He can definitely bowl quicker and can generate good speeds more consistently. He is sharp and nippy. Generally it is difficult to perfect a yorker and slower one but Nathu has both.”