Sheldon Jackson keeps plodding on for Saurashtra despite selectors’ indifference

“To be honest, there is nothing to say, jo mooh kholna tha sab khol diya (what i had to say was said), nothing happened. I now, have left it to to my destiny”

SHELDON Jackson was once again asked the same question that he has been asked many times before. Does he feel disappointed that selectors never looked at him as an option and does red ball performance really count. At 36, he has 6382 runs in first class cricket with an average of 48.34. He has been one of the pillars of Saurashtra’s success over the years but he never got the recognition for it.

Selectors kept bypassing his name and he didn’t find a place in the India A squad even. On Friday, Jackson had another big day in office. He slammed 160 runs along with his old team mate Arpit Vasavada, who struck an unbeaten 112, to see Saurashtra ending Day 3 of their semi-finals of the Ranji Trophy on 364 for 4.

Saurashtra are trailing by 43 runs as they look to take the first innings lead.

“Whatever I had to say, I have said in the past. Sometimes it feels there is no point talking about non-selection. Our country is filled with talent. Many score tons and tons of runs every year and I also come in the bracket of those players who have always performed,” he says over phone from Bangalore.

He wants to add more to it, “No disrespect to anyone but for many, 500 runs in a season is their best season. I feel despite scoring more than 500 this season too, I feel this wasn’t my best.”

His questoning of selection began in 2019 when he was snubbed, not getting picked in Duleep Trophy despite working hard for the previous four years. Later he was expecting to be picked for the second string team which traveled to Sri Lanka in 2021. He expressed his dismay through emojis in his tweets a few times but the message didn’t reach the Indian board selectors.

Jackson is realistic when he says, “Whatever I can do, I’m doing. I have begun to focus on things which are in my hand and let god decide what he has for me. I can get better and try to give my best, that’s it.”

After ending Karnataka’s innings for 407, Saurashtra didn’t get the best of starts as their opener Snell Patel departed without opening his account. Vishvaraj Jadeja and Harvik Desai went back after getting a decent start. Saurashtra were 92 for 3 at one stage when the team’s most seasoned batters Jackson and Vasavada decided to steer their first innings.

Risk free batting initially

“We kept a small target for ourselves. Vasavada and I decided to set a target of 20-20 runs. We didn’t want to take risks initially but when we thought we could accelerate and opponents were tired, we went with our shots. We didn’t want our lower order to take the burden of scoring those big runs in the end,” Jackson revealed.

The plan worked, Jackon and Vasavada added 232 runs for the fourth wicket to see Saurashtra cruising slowly towards the first innings lead. However, with two more days left, Jackson said the team need to be cautious. Karnataka has a star studded line-up and in a knock-out game, they will push the pedal to secure a win. Saurashtra will be seriously tested in the next 48 hours.

Brief Scores: Karnataka 407 vs Saurashtra 364/4 (S Jackson 160, A Vasavada 112 not out) trail by 43 runs.

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