A first team debut for Nottinghamshire is an honour bestowed on few. To do so having made a first Second XI appearance only a season prior, and representing a whole community in the process, makes the landmark all the more special.
So it has come to pass for 17-year-old Fateh Singh who, in Notts Outlaws’ rain affected Royal London Cup fixture against Yorkshire, made his debut in Green and Gold having represented each of the age group teams during his rise to the top.
Furthermore, Singh is believed to be the first Sikh to play for Notts’ first team; and the left arm spinning all rounder hopes to be the first of many.
“It is an honour,” he said, “It is surreal and it makes me proud to represent that community. It is a matter of staying in touch with where I come from.
“Sikhism has an impact on who I am, and that affects the way I play my cricket. I play with a lot of respect.
“As Sikhs, we believe whatever happens is God’s will, so if we have a poor performance, although it can just be poor execution, I'll find it easier to accept it and bounce back.
“Hopefully it is a starting point for the rest of the Sikhs out there who want to play cricket, and I do know of many that play, that they can see me playing for Notts as inspirational and go on to do the same thing.”
Singh’s rise in recent years, and even recent months, has been meteoric. As a 16-year-old he made his debut for the Second XI, and he has continued to ply his trade under Peter Trego’s captaincy this year.
He has impressed for the Academy with 28 wickets in all formats this season, too, averaging just 11.57 with the ball and earning the right to represent Midlands in the ECB super 4s tournament.
He has shown promise with the bat too, averaging a shade under 23 with a half-century against Norfolk.
Even with his stand-out performances, the call up to the Royal London Cup squad came as something of a surprise.
“It has all happened really fast, in the blink of an eye,” he said.
“To get a message saying I was training with the squad ahead of the Royal London campaign, I thought I would be just training, so being told I would play was just amazing.
“The debut wasn’t how I pictured it with the weather,” he added, with inclement precipitation impeding his chance to bat or bowl, “but making my debut for this club is unreal. It is what I wanted to do since I started playing cricket. It gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”
The respect held for Singh shouldn’t be ignored, either. Messages of a congratulatory nature flooded the Trent Bridge social feeds following the announcement of his debut on Friday, after a feature exposing his cricketing journey had been shared extensively weeks prior.
He admits he received several personal notes, too, particularly from Young Lions, the Nottingham based cricket club of Indian heritage founded by his father.
“So many people have sent lovely messages about my debut, and it has been amazing to have them and know that the support is there,” he said.
“I guess it has something to do with popularity, but I didn't know I was that popular!
“The only thing I can say is thank you, but I don't see myself in a different position, I still see myself as an aspiring cricketer wanting to make a case for myself to become a full professional.
“Some will say I have come a long way, but I feel like I am still that Academy cricketer trying to fight for a spot.”
With the sense of a dream becoming a reality, Singh is philosophical on how he has attained his current position, and who has influenced him both at Notts and further afield.
Yet, with a hunger to learn and a desire to develop, he views his inclusion in the first team as a stepping stone, with work still yet to be done.
“Growing up, I wanted to base my game on Yuvraj Singh, being a left arm spinning-all rounder, but also his attitude on the pitch, he was passionate and you could see that,” he said.
“At the age of 14/15, I started to understand my cricket a bit more and the role I have, and I looked up to Imad Wasim and Samit Patel from Notts. I wanted to play like them.
“Over the next few months, I want to learn from the experienced players around me and really work on my skills to clear up any rough patches in my cricket. I just want to improve as fast as I can and be the best player I can be.”