Punjab Kings wicketkeeper-batter Jitesh Sharma opened up on his nerve-wracking moment on his IPL debut against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on April 3. Jitesh was bought by Punjab Kings for his base price of INR 20 lakhs.
The 28-year-old replaced Sri Lanka’s Bhanuka Rajapaksa behind the stumps for PBKS. Sharma scored 26 in 17 deliveries and smashed three sixes- one each to Moeen Ali, Mukesh Choudhary and Ravindra Jadeja.
CSK vs PBKS: I was obviously nervous as I faced my first ball – Jitesh Sharma
According to the Punjab gloveman, it wasn’t as easy scoring against CSK as he displayed. Jitesh admitted that he felt nervous when he walked in to bat while watching CSK’s experienced players gathered around him on the field.
“I gave it my all on the field and I was obviously nervous as I faced my first ball. I was pumped because of the crowd. I saw MS Dhoni behind me and Jadeja bowling to me.
“DJ Bravo was to my left. Robin Uthappa and Ambati Rayudu were all around me, who I’ve seen on TV but never seen in real life, so I could feel their vibes around me,” Jitesh told Punjab Kings’ official website.
“My sacrifices and hard work were always with me, that’s why I was very confident and after the moment my bat touched the ball for the first time, everything went back to normal. I was just in the game,” he explained about his battle with the nerves.
CSK vs PBKS: Jitesh Sharma took a couple of catches on his IPL debut
During CSK’s innings, Jitesh took a brilliant diving catch behind the wickets to send back Rayudu to the dugout and followed it with Dhoni’s catch, which was initially ruled out by the onfield umpire, however, Jitesh convinced skipper Mayank Agarwal to send it upstairs via DRS. The decision came in Punjab’s favour as Dhoni walked back on 23 and PBKS won by 54 runs.
Jitesh scored an unbeaten 15-ball 30 against Mumbai Indians to propel Punjab to 198/5 and the team eventually won by 12 runs.