News

Meet Ramesh 'Narine Jalabadia' Kumar - A mystery spinner unearthed from tennis-ball stardom

Who is Ramesh Kumar?

A promising left-arm mystery spinner and a hard-hitting batter, in the mold of Sunil Narine, Kumar is a product of tennis-ball cricket stardom and is often recognised by his moniker, ‘Narine Jalalabadia’.

While Kumar is yet to play any representative cricket, he hopes to follow in T. Natarajan’s footsteps. The Tamil Nadu left-arm fast bowler shot to fame after his tennis-ball exploits to bag IPL riches and has climbed the ladder steadily to be capped in all three formats for India in International cricket.

Hailing from Jalalabad in Punjab, Kumar’s father is a cobbler and his mother sells bangles across nearby villages in Punjab’s Fazilka district. They were initially reluctant that cricket would earn their son a decent livelihood but the opportunity with KKR has convinced them it will open up more avenues for Kumar moving forward.  

The 23-year-old plied his trade in tennis-ball tournaments across the country for close to seven years earning not more than 1000 rupees, enough to make ends meet and cover his traveling expenses, and sees the IPL as the platform he needed to prosper on and advance his skills.

Tennis-ball exploits

Kumar once struck a 10-ball 50 and hit five sixes in an over in a tennis ball match. His starring role with the bat took him all over the country after being invited to play in tennis-ball tournaments. 

It wasn’t long before his friends convinced him to bowl with a leather ball and soon, he made waves playing district cricket for Moga and later starred with the ball for the Minerva Cricket Academy in the JP Atray Memorial Cricket Tournament picking nine wickets in his first two games. 

Journey to the IPL 2022

After an odd leather-ball game here and there, Kumar impressed in PCA’s district-level tournament to win a place in Punjab’s Ranji trophy training camp.

Gurkeerat Singh Mann, the Punjab batter who is currently with the Gujarat Titans’ squad, helped Kumar on his way to the KKR trials in Mumbai. Abhishek Nayar, the KKR assistant coach, was convinced that Kumar would lend a unique variety to the squad with his left-arm mystery spin coupled with his hard-hitting and secured his services at Kumar’s base price of INR 20 lakhs at the IPL Auction.