Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Manipur's Rex Singh picks eight wickets, five of them for zero

Manipur's Rex Singh snapped up eight wickets against Mizoram in a Ranji Trophy 2019-20 match, giving away just 22 runs.

Rex Singh (r) wrecked havoc on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy season by picking eight wickets.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Looks like December is a lucky month for Rex Singh. The young left-arm fast bowler from Manipur, who made the cricketing fraternity sit up and take notice after his ten-wicket haul in a Cooch Trophy match last December, has hit the headlines again. This time, in a Ranji Trophy fixture.

Against Mizoram, the 19-year-old took eight wickets at the Jadavpur University Ground in Salt Lake on Monday, giving away just 22 runs. Five of the eight batsmen were out for ducks. That helped Manipur bundle out Mizoram for 51 in just under an hour.

Rex, who took four maidens finished with innings figures of 8-4-22-8.

Taking advantage of the early conditions in a rather foggy Kolkata, Rex made sure that the decision to bowl first paid dividends for Manipur.

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After his ten-wicket haul last year, Rex was selected for the India U-19 squad against South Africa U-19 earlier this year and the youngster has been consistent in his performance for the last one year.

Born in Sagolband Moirang Hanuba - around 4.5 kilometres from Imphal - Rex’s stint with cricket began with tennis ball at the backyard of his home.

But by his own admission, his initial interests were in taekwondo and football. However, his coach Ph Rohendro Singh motivated him to focus on leather-ball cricket.

Talking to Sportstar earlier this year, Rex said bowling with leather ball at the age of 10-11 contributed to his growth. “My coach advised me to bowl with leather ball and I just followed him. That helped me gain confidence.”

At a time when most of his contemporaries struggled to adjust to the longer format of the game, Rex proved his mettle during the U-16 Associates and Affiliated Tournament in 2014, where he scalped a five-for against Bihar U-16.

In that particular match, Rex not only realised that the his pace and movement troubled the batsmen, but also learned how to perfect the skills.

“After that, I have worked on my bowling and mastered left-arm swing. That has helped me immensely and later, when I travelled to the National Cricket Academy, I learned how to develop overall skills. I am reaping those benefits,” Rex said.

A fan of England pace ace James Anderson, Rex did not dream of breaking into the big league so soon. But now that he has made his presence felt, the young pacer from Manipur wants to keep things simple.

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