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  • Writer's pictureHarjot Sidhu


Fateh Singh is part of a special group. The 4%. That’s the magical number of South Asian first-class county cricketers, in England and Wales. Still only 18 years of age, Fateh has just signed a brand-new two-year contract extension with Nottingham County Cricket Club and will be able to call Trent Bridge ‘home’ until 2025. “For me, it shows the club have faith in me. Nottingham is home. It’s a special feeling.” A left-arm spinner and batsmen, Fateh first trailed as a seamer for the Notts under 11s at the age of 9. “I think I played about 8 or 9 games and only got 33 runs the whole season. It wasn’t great,” he says with a smile. “My coach turned me into a spinner. I picked it up quite naturally. I made the change and have been bowling spin since.”

Fateh’s 2021 saw him taking 32 wickets in 13 matches for the under 18s, whilst also averaging 25.89 with the bat, which included two fifties. Fateh was rewarded with an England under 19s call up and would be part of the World Cup squad that would travel to the West Indies, eventually making the final. It was team full of young starlets, including the likes of Hampshire’s Tom Prest, who also captained the squad, as well as Rehan Ahmed who took the tournament by storm. “It was unreal. To represent England in a World Cup, at any level, it doesn’t come often. I remember being in school and watching [the 2020 Under 19s World Cup] games on my phone. When I got told my friends were watching me play in school…it was a bizarre feeling. I can’t sum it up, really.” As special as it was, Fateh did not let the experience overwhelm him. “It’s just like any other game. Playing on Sky [TV] is a lot bigger. But I’m here because I’m good enough. As long as I believe in myself, I should by fine.”

Belief, courage and resilience. Fateh has had it all, from a very young age. It’s probably why he’s an all-rounder. He belief that he’s good enough everywhere is genuine. “I always knew I was one of the best. I had that self-confidence. Even if I was playing for school, I was making sure I was going to dominate. Even at county age-group. I had to dominate. If someone’s scoring 50, I should be scoring 100.” I often talk about resilience, but on top of that, Fateh has something else. He has the knowledge that he’s in the right place. The cricket field was a place that Fateh knew he belonged. His dad founded Young Lions CC in 2003, a local club, so it was always in his family. But at the age of 11, when he was diagnosed with Alopecia, any hurdles that there may have been were surpassed with the help of a bat and ball. “Whatever it did cause, if it was hard at all, cricket was the answer. It’s all about acceptance. I accepted it from a young age. This is me. This is who I am. I was a strong believer that I am still the same person. It doesn’t change me.” Now an ambassador for Alopecia UK, Fateh is, and always has been, very open about his experiences. Fateh identifies as a Sikh. One of the markers of Sikh identity is their hair. He tells Alopecia UK: “Sometimes I feel my recognition as a Sikh is lost, which I feel is quite a big part of me. I am happy that, as a Sikh, every boy has the middle name ‘Singh.’ so this is one of the reasons why I prefer this name on my shirt, rather than my family name, as it is a symbol of my Sikh heritage and identity.”

Fateh has a considerable road ahead of him and there will be many unexpected turns along the way. Fateh probably feels he should be slightly further ahead than where he currently is, had it not been for his fitness. “Growing up in the age groups, I’d always score quite a few runs and take a few wickets, but I was never pushed forward because I was unfit. I had good enough hands, but I wasn’t the greatest fielder. I wasn’t very quick. I feel like that was quite a tough one to overcome. I would have loved to have [changed my diet] earlier. I’m slowly getting there.”

Having youth on his side means there are plenty of options on the table for Fateh, especially in an ever evolving domestic and international circuit…and he’s hungry. “I want to do it all. I want to play test match cricket. I also want to play for England in 50-over cricket or T20 cricket. I also want to play in the IPL, the Big Bash, in all these franchises. I’m not going to say I’m only going to focus on white ball, because it just shuts off a whole world of opportunity. For me, test match cricket always has been my favourite format. It’s real cricket. it’s just not the cricket either, it shows real character. It can be mentally challenging and that’s what excites me.”




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