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Unveiling Rinku Singh: Maestro of the onslaught, chasing the elusive cut

Last updated on 18 Sep 2023 | 09:27 AM
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Unveiling Rinku Singh: Maestro of the onslaught, chasing the elusive cut

As we delve into the intricate tapestry of Rinku's cricketing finesse, a world of advanced matchup statistics unravels before us

In the dazzling realm of IPL cricket, where fortunes can change with the swing of a bat, one name has managed to seize the limelight – Rinku Singh. Famously known for his breathtaking feat of five consecutive sixes in five balls, Rinku's journey from humble beginnings to the grand stage is well-documented. However, amidst the spotlight, there lies a lesser-explored facet of his skillset – a remarkable ability to dismantle bowling attacks with his unmatched hitting prowess. This tale has remained in the shadows, awaiting its rightful moment of glory.

As we delve into the intricate tapestry of Rinku's cricketing finesse, a world of advanced matchup statistics unravels before us. It is here that his dominance against pace bowling takes centre stage, painting a portrait of a batsman who stands in a league of his own. Boasting an impressive average of 63 and a jaw-dropping strike rate of 167, Rinku's numbers signify a unique blend of technique and instinct that sets him apart from his peers.

*SR (Percentile Rank) – Relative Strikerate, *BpW (Percentile Rank) – Relative BpW

 The heart of Rinku's cricketing arsenal lies in his mastery over pace bowling. His adeptness at handling full-length deliveries is a spectacle to behold, characterized by his late hip movement towards the bowler and his side-on shoulders at the point of contact. This meticulously honed technique not only maximizes the probability of clearing the ropes but also underscores his ability to transfer weight optimally, lending power to his shots. Akin to Andre Russell, Rinku's skill in clearing the front leg adds yet another dimension to his already formidable prowess.

*RpB – Runs per Ball, BpW – Balls per Wicket, Bf – Balls faced

What distinguishes Rinku from his contemporaries is his capacity to maintain his hitting proficiency over an extended stretch of deliveries. 

A closer inspection of the statistics highlights his stranglehold on deliveries of fuller lengths, those measuring less than 6 meters. With a strike rate of 199 and a Balls-per-wicket (BpW) ratio of 31, Rinku transcends the mean strike rate and Balls-per-wicket of 168/18 ratio in this region.

His wagon wheel against pace bowling unfurls a treasure trove of strategic shot placements, often favouring mid-wicket and square leg. Moreover, his finesse in executing shots in the coveted "V" region and his proficiency in cover drives offer him a tactical edge in a landscape where boundary placement is pivotal. 

*Attacking SR Percentile Rank – Relative SR off attacking shots, Attacking Shots Percentile Rank – Relative Attacking shot percentage

Rinku's aggressive intent against pace bowlers adds another feather to his cap. An astonishing 68% of the pace bowling he has encountered has led to attacking shots – a statistic that only 15% of players can rival. This blend of intent and execution manifests in his remarkable strike rate of 204 on these aggressive shots, surpassing 75% of his peers. This underscores his capacity to capitalize on deliveries that fit within his arc, a skill essential for a successful finisher.

Yet, amidst these strengths, there lies a shot that remains an enigma to Rinku – the cut shot. Infrequent attempts and a lacklustre strike rate, coupled with a control percentage of just 42, reveal an inherent discomfort with this particular shot. 

A crucial element that adds to Rinku's prowess against pace is his commendable aptitude in dealing with deliveries that rise higher within his natural swing. His impressive strike rate on short lengths (9-10.5m) stands as a testament to this proficiency. However, a conspicuous concern arises when the ball bounces shoulder-high, as reflected by his subpar strike rate of 146 on bouncers (10.5m+). This deficiency hints at a possible area for improvement, one that could stem from his limited repertoire that lacks a well-practised hook/pull shot that goes finer.

Transitioning to his confrontation with spin, Rinku's strategic approach becomes apparent. His tendency to consolidate against spin, often due to encountering off-spin bowling early in the innings, is a defining trait. This characteristic gains depth when considering his entry point, which predominantly falls before the 12th over in 55% of his innings during the past two IPL seasons. 

*RpB – Runs per Ball, BpW – Balls per Wicket, Bf – Balls faced

Given this context, it's unsurprising that Rinku leans towards working or defending the ball for singles, a strategy he employs close to 40% of the time. Furthermore, when presented with shorter deliveries from spinners, Rinku rarely opts for the pull shot. His productivity appears to dwindle when executing the cut shot against spin. While he thrives against overpitched deliveries, his relative struggle against spin signifies a facet where improvements can be made.

In the face of slow starts, Rinku's performance remains promising, particularly against pace - a strike rate of 151 in the first ten balls. This aligns seamlessly with a role at the coveted #6 position – a slot that demands quick adjustments and impactful hitting. Thus, the argument gains strength that Rinku's proficiency against spin need not be exceptional for him to excel in this pivotal position.

However, the landscape of T20 cricket is rapidly evolving, demanding players to possess a multifaceted skillset. The growing prevalence of spinners during death overs has revolutionized the dynamics of the game. In a recent development, the 2023 IPL season witnessed an unprecedented 19% of death overs being bowled by spinners, up from 13% in the previous year. This shift in strategy, driven in part by the potential absence of premier pacers due to injuries, could compel teams to strategically employ spinners against big hitters like Rinku during the final phases of the innings.

If Rinku addresses his current shortcomings while capitalizing on his strengths, it wouldn't be surprising to witness his ascent to a permanent T20I team member, potentially earning a spot in the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean. His exceptional ability against pace and the changing dynamics of the game make his journey one to watch, as he aims to become a well-rounded force in the world of T20 cricket.

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