What’s the story?
Sheldon Jackson, who made his debut for the Kolkata Knight Riders this season, will now play second division cricket in the TNCA. The batsman, who represented various India A teams, opted out of top flight cricket because of a lack of support from his employer. He currently works as a tax assistant at the Income Tax Department.
"I didn't get support from my department on the leave front. As first division is a three-day format, I decided to opt out. I signed up for Aruna CC as I had to register for TNPL as well. I will be playing second division this season as the matches will be played either on Saturdays or Sundays. I can fly down, play the match and leave the same day back home," Jackson said in an exclusive interview with Times of India.
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Jackson has had a significant presence in the Indian domestic circuit, having played almost 50 first-class matches. In these games, he scored 13 hundreds and 15 fifties with an impressive average of 50.29.
He was a part of the KKR squad in the 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016 and 2017 seasons of the Indian Premier League. He was also in the Royal Challengers Bangalore squad for the sixth and seventh editions of the tournament.
The 30-year-old stated that being unable to participate in the first division league of the TNCA will be a “big loss” for him before the domestic season.
He went on to explain that the quality of cricket played in the TNCA was some of the best in India and participating in it helped him prepare for the domestic season to follow. However, the wicket-keeper also said that he is not too disappointed to play in the second division, as many other first-class cricketers also participate in it.
Hailing from Gujarat, Jackson flew out late on Friday (July 7) for his debut in second division cricket. He smashed a fabulous 141-ball 171 in the match and left for Bhavnagar immediately. Since all second-division matches are scheduled for the weekends, Jackson will stick to the same tiring schedule over the course of the remaining 10 matches.
The Saurashtra batsman will hope to make a statement in the domestic season that follows the TNCA.
It is disappointing to see such struggles of cricketers who have the talent to play at the highest level. Jackson is a well-known name in cricketing circles and should not be going through such a mindless tussle at this stage of his career.
It is time we start treating our athletes with the respect and consideration they deserve.