Saurashtra and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) batsman Sheldon Jackson recently shared his inspirational story where he went from pondering of leaving the game totally to plundering big runs in domestic cricket to the riches of the IPL.
During an interaction with KKR, the 34-year-old revealed he had contemplated quitting cricket when he was 25 and couldn’t make it into his Ranji team’s eleven and had to warm the bench for years.
Sheldon Jackson said at that time one of his close friends gave him the confidence to battle for another year.
“At the age of 25, I thought of giving cricket up totally. I was in the Ranji Trophy squad for five years without playing a single match.. Then a very, very close friend of mine, named Mr. Shapath Shah, said that ‘You have worked all these years very hard, give yourself another year, wait for another year, if nothing works you can come and work in my factory. I’ll give you a job but give yourself another year,'” the Bhavnagar-born cricketer said.
If cricket had not been kind to me, I would have been selling panipuri: Sheldon Jackson
Sheldon Jackson then began making big strides soon. In the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy season, he made four fifties and three centuries, including back-to-back tons in the quarter-final and semi-final, to help Saurashtra qualify for the final for the first time.
The same year, he broke into the India A team and was bought by RCB in 2013. A couple of years later KKR roped him in their squad; two more years later, he made his IPL debut in 2017. Although he couldn’t manage any big scores, he earned the faith of the franchise as they signed him again ahead of the 2021 season.
“That year I broke every record in the country. I became the highest run-scorer. I played everything except for India. I got four centuries in a year, three centuries in a row… From there on my career just kickstarted,” he added.
He now averages 49.42 in 76 first-class matches and is a massive name in the domestic circuit. However, he reckons he would have been selling panipuris if not for the game.
“That time I understood that if I have to do something in my life, this is the only thing I can do because I knew nothing else. I never paid attention to anything else in my life. Or else, if cricket had not been kind to me, I would have been selling panipuri on the roads,” the wicketkeeper said.
As for the Knight Riders, they will resume their IPL 2021 season against RCB on September 20 in Abu Dhabi. Eoin Morgan’s side are currently placed 7th in the points table with just 2 wins in 7 matches.