Renuka Singh: The India & WPL Star Is Destined For Greatness
Renuka Singh: The India & WPL Star Is Destined For Greatness

In a very short span of time, the Indian speedster Renuka Singh has carved out an identity for herself. Known for her immaculate action and producing magical movements, Renuka has already delivered numerous match-winning performances for her country. She is now one of the five cricketers signed by Hyundai Motor India as a part of #TheDriveWithin campaign.

To understand what the word sublime means in the Burkean sense, there’s a better way out than reading Edmund Burke, and that is to watch the opening spell of Renuka Singh against Australia in Birmingham last year. The spell had a definite proportion of thrill, terror, and awe at once, as she went about her business with ruthless efficiency, cleaning the most daunting line-up in the history of women’s cricket with immaculate precision. Alyssa Healy, Meg Lanning, Beth Mooney, and Tahlia McGrath were here four victims.  


While Healy and Lanning were undone by an innocuous delivery they could have left alone, Mooney’s attempted cut crashed into her own stumps, the real deal was Tahlia McGrath’s dismissal, one that’s hard to forget for anyone who saw it live. The entire sequence was poetry in motion. The ball pitched just about on the off stump, convincing McGrath to play the line, and by the time her willow came down to meet the ball, it has already deviated its initial course, snaking past the gap between her bat and pad to disturb the leg stump. An in-swinger with a touch of perfection. No wonder it’s her favourite wicket of the entire campaign. 


Although India ended up on the losing side, they had seen a fast-bowling spell that the legendary Jhulan Goswami used to conjure up in her playing days. This was also the first multi-format tournament India played in her absence, and every little thing about all four dismissals of Renuka reminded us of Goswami. While Renuka does not like this comparison, she does want to carry forward the rich legacy that Goswami left behind. 


While the 27-year-old wasn’t exactly a young prodigy, for she made her debut only less than a couple of years ago, she has made up for her lost time with a swift start in the international arena. In just seven ODIs, she has taken a four-wicket haul thrice, the last of which came at the iconic Lord’s against England. It was a match India were destined to lose before Renuka intervened with her second consecutive four-wicket haul. She finished the year gone by with 40 wickets in 29 matches, and was adjudged as the ICC Emerging Player of the Year 2022.  


In a conversation with, Renuka talked about her early days in Himachal Pradesh, her favourite wicket, the Women’s Premier League, and more.  




2022 was an amazing year for you on a personal level. You made your ODI debut in New Zealand, were adjudged as Player of the Match in the Asia Cup final, and took 40 wickets in 29 matches across formats at a commendable economy. How do you look at it? Is there something you feel you could have done better? 


It feels great to be contributing to the Indian team, and the hard work has surely paid off. If my team win because of the performance that is more important to me. To play for your country and make them proud is the best feeling in the world. Not many people get this opportunity and I feel lucky that I bring to represent my country at the highest level. 


It has been less than two years since you made your international debut, but you are already counted among the most consistent bowlers going around. Rarely does a bowler get off to such a seamless start in international cricket. What worked in your favour? 


As I said I feel lucky that I get to play at the highest level that everyone playing cricket in India dreams of. Nothing comes easy in life, and I was ready to give whatever it takes to play for India. There have been a lot of sacrifices but in retrospect, everything seems to fall into place. Certain things happened because I was meant for bigger things. I am glad to cement my status as a frontline bowler in the team, and I am going to work as hard as I can to continue this way. 


It seems like the country has now realised the massive potential of women’s sports in the country, and women’s cricket is at the forefront of this transformation. How do you feel we can capitalise on the momentum? 


Our country is emerging as the powerhouse of women’s cricket. People are now more interested in this sport, and major brands like Hyundai Motor India are building momentum by bringing forth the unique stories of women cricketers. #TheDriveWithin is an incredibly powerful campaign that will inspire the next-gen of our nation to follow their heart. 


You’re only the second cricketer from this state, after Sushma Verma, to play for India. Tells us about the infrastructure there. What are some of the challenges you faced in your formative years? 


Coming from a village in Himachal, infrastructure and a decent playing field have been a problem. But I will acknowledge the fact that Mr Anurag Thakur Sir has been a great pillar of support for women’s cricketers in Himachal. It was his academy that provided the facilities and help us build our careers.  


In India, it’s never easy for a woman to pursue sports full-time, even more so if you’re not from a metro city. The most important hurdle is to convince your parents. What was your mother’s attitude towards your cricketing goals? 


Infrastructure was a great barrier, initially. But as I mentioned, with the opening of an academy by Mr Anurag Thakur Sir, everything was available. Further, in my initial days not many girls played cricket so it was something that seemed unachievable and unrealistic to a lot of people, but my mother always believed and backed me. 


People call you the ‘Swing Queen’ of India. Tell us more about your craft – the ability to move the ball – and how you mastered it over the years. 


The title has been given by people around, and it feels amazing to receive the acknowledgement. I was always told by my coach Mr Pawan Sen that swing is something which is difficult to play. He worked a lot on me, helping me with my run-up, wrist positioning, and fitness since it is one of the prerequisites to be a fast bowler. Then as I gradually started to play domestic cricket, inter-zonal, and challengers so practising at NCA with the best and specialized coaches also helped me. 


How do you feel when you conjure up in-swingers like the one you bowled to Tahlia McGrath in CWG 2022? It was a dismissal that took everyone on their feet. 


This has been one of my favourite wickets in the entire CWG Campaign. Before delivering that ball, I realized that she was struggling with the incoming ball which made me bowl an inswinger to her. Also, that I took early wickets gave me confidence. 


For a long India have been massively reliant on Jhulan Goswami. Many think India have already found their next Goswami in you. What are your thoughts about this? 


See, I have always moved away from such comparisons because what she has done for India and for women’s Cricket in general is commendable. When no one knew or followed women’s cricket she was the one people recognized because of her bowling speed, amazing action and the attitude that she carried along. And with that being said, I would definitely want to contribute and take the legacy forward but such comparisons I feel are not required. 


Finally, the much-awaited WPL is going to begin. Tell us what were you going through when your name popped up in the auction list. It must have been encouraging to see franchises fighting against each other to have Renuka Singh in their team. 


We have waited for years for this moment to come. Women’s cricket will finally have the same opportunities as men so everyone was excited about the auction. It was a very happy environment for the team. Considering it was our first auction so nobody had any specific team in mind and whichever team choose us we were happy. 


What was your mother’s reaction? 


The dream that we both saw was taking place in [in the auction]. I think for parents it is a feeling of utmost pride when they are recognized by their child’s name. She has always been my pillar of strength and has always backed me. Her dream of watching me play for India was already fulfilled, and with that me going at a whooping price of 1.5 crores was overwhelming for her. She was super happy. 


What are your goals this year? 


No specific plans just going with the flow and contributing to my team wherever I play and winning more and more matches. 



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