Nathu Singh: ‘I have to fight my way back’

Unsold at the IPL auction, the Rajasthan speedster returned to MRF Pace Foundation to start from scratch.

Nathu Singh had taken down some big names during his 7/87 on Ranji Trophy debut for Rajasthan against Delhi in 2015.   -  SANDEEP SAXENA

The vicissitudes of sport can make extreme demands on the psyche of the protagonists. The rise to the top can be exhilarating. The fall from heights doesn’t take long.

Just 22, Nathu Singh has been through an emotional roller coaster. Son of a daily labourer from a factory close to Jaipur, the paceman was picked up for a whopping Rs. 3.20 crore by Mumbai Indians in 2016.

He was the new kid on the block with real pace — Nathu generated speeds in excess of 145 kph — who had taken down some big names during his seven for 87 on Ranji Trophy debut for Rajasthan against Delhi in 2015.

That appears a long time ago. This year, he went unsold at the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction.

Back at the MRF Pace Foundation in a bid revive his career, Nathu, in a chat with Sportstar, admitted he had strayed from the path.

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“Probably, I did not pay as much attention to training, fitness and preparation as much as I was told to do at the MRF. The body was not strong. Consequently, I suffered a stress fracture on the lower back last season,” Nathu said.

He revealed, “Senthilnathan sir at the MRF was gracious enough to call me and give me another chance to train here. Then, there is the great Glenn McGrath to guide you. I have to fight my way back to contention again.”

The man with a semi side-on release and a potent inswinger has been working some aspects of his bowling including shortening his run-up and directing all the force at the target in a more coordinated fashion.

An admirer of the explosive former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, Nathu started with tennis ball cricket. “The arm rotation has to be good to generate pace with the tennis ball and you learn to bowl yorkers,” he said. Given his natural speed, Nathu got noticed quickly.

Now, he has to pick the pieces again.