“If cricket was not kind, I would have been selling panipuri,” Sheldon Jackson recalls his cricketing journey

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) batsman Sheldon Jackson talked about his struggle in a documentary and revealed he was about to give up on cricket. He was running out of patience after not getting enough opportunities in Ranji Trophy.

It was Jackson’s close friend Shapath Shah who reminded him of his hard work and told the Saurashtra batsman to give cricket another year. He wanted to quit cricket and take a job in the bank before agreeing to his friend’s words which turned out to be a good suggestion.

“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 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,” he said while speaking in a KKR Documentary.

“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. 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,” he added.

The 34-year-old has played 76 First-Class matches and he scored 5634 runs at an average of 49.42. Jackson recently represented Puducherry in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and now he has returned to his home side Saurashtra.

Jackson has featured in only one Indian Premier League (IPL) season, back in 2017 for KKR. He also recalled Gautam Gambhir’s influence in his cricket and how he was bought by KKR on his decision.

“We were playing a Ranji Trophy match against Delhi. I scored a 50 against a very good bowling attack. After that, I went up to Gautam bhai, I have always idolized him, so I said: ‘Bhaiya, what do you feel about my game? How can I improve?’ Gambhir said: ‘You are batting well, just be ready. This year, I’ll pick you in KKR’. 

“I just thanked him and went away, thinking he said that just to keep my heart.” The auctions came and I went unsold in the first round. But someone from the KKR management called me saying, ‘Don’t worry Gautam Bhai called us just now and we’ll go for you. And I got picked for KKR,” he concluded.