If not for Cricket, I’d have been selling panipuri on the roads,” says KKR player

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Before the 2011 Ranji season, Sheldon Jackson had the most torrid time in his professional career, having made it to the Ranji side and not playing a single game for 5 years. However, with some confidence instilled from a friend, he continued. The perseverance paid off, with Jackson managing a record-breaking haul for Saurashtra soon after, also helping them reach their first-ever Ranji Trophy final.

That season he made it to the Indian Premier League, getting picked by the Royal Challengers Bangalore in February 2013. However, he only made his debut in 2017, where he made his first and last appearance in the IPL, representing Kolkata Knight Riders. During an interaction ahead of KKR’s resumption of the 2021 season, Sheldon Jackson recalled some tough times in his life and thanked Cricket for providing him a life.

“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,'” Jackson recalled.

Sheldon Jackson KKR

Jackson last played an IPL game in 2017.

“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,” Jackson added.

Sheldon Jackson battling for a place in KKR XI

With Kolkata Knight Riders struggling for runs in the middle order, there is a hint of a chance for the experienced campaigner to enter the playing XI and play his first game in the tournament since 2017. Saurashtra’s highest run-scorer in Ranji history, Jackson has been doing a fine job for his new team Puducherry having made the move ahead of the 2020/21 season.

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Jackson, who was roped in ahead of the 14th season by the Knight Riders and is yet to appear on the team sheet.