A right-handed batsman and off-spinner, Ninan was born in Thinuvanathanpuram in Kerala, but after representing Karnataka in youth competitions he made his first-class debut for Goa in 2008-09, returning to Karnataka the following season.
He played four Ranji Trophy matches, making an unbeaten 88 against Bengal and taking five for 75 against Jammu and Kashmir, and his performances earned him a contract with IPL side Kings XI Punjab, although he did not actually get a game.
Two years later he was signed by the Royal Challengers Bangalore, playing two matches for them in the 2011 IPL competition, and in 2012-13 he was a regular choice in Karnataka’s one-day side.
In 2013 Ninan moved to Melbourne to study for a master’s degree in Sports Management, and soon established himself at the Hawthorn-Monash First Grade club, captaining their side in 2014-15.
He had a successful season with Cheshire League side Grappenhall in 2016, helping them to gain promotion to the Premier Division, and this summer, now back in Karnataka, he has been playing for local league side Friends XI.
At HCC Ninan will effectively be a replacement for Werner Coetsee, also a spin-bowling all-rounder. He and Vandiar, who will be in his third season at De Diepput, will have crucial roles in a side which will be without long-serving senior player Tom de Grooth.