Saurashtra’s Sheldon Jackson, who has found himself ignored by IPL franchises for three seasons now, has revealed that he understood that physical fitness was of utmost importance for him to compete at the highest level. Jackson ended the 2019 Ranji campaign as Saurahsra’s highest run-getter.
Over the last couple of years, Sheldon Jackson has been a prominent name in Indian cricket, not because his performances have got the recognition it deserves, but because of his antics on social media. However, the 33-year-old wicket-keeper batsman’s performances with the bat, of late, have been impeccable, too, with him even finishing the title-winning 2019/20 campaign as Saurashtra’s highest run-getter, with 809 runs to his name.
Reflecting on his stellar season, Jackson revealed that the single most important factor towards him excelling was him losing weight and getting fitter, something that he did with the help of his friends Marshall and Visakha. The right-hander, who played four matches for Kolkata Knight Riders in 2017 and has not since featured in the IPL, also stated that he realized that fitness was key for him to make a push to play in the global T20 extravaganza.
"I am 33 but I can proudly compete with a 22-year-old. I realised to get back in the IPL or play at a higher level, I needed this tuning of not just the mind but the body as well. I have been training with Marshall [a gym instructor] and have seen a huge change in myself. Now, I'm even more hungry to keep playing. Because I think I found my recovery times improving as the season went along,” Jackson told ESPNCricinfo.
"I used to think cricket was a skill sport, but I was wrong. My friends Marshall and Visakha, who I work out with, pushed me to get physically fit. I could sense when I was out on the field the whole day, how different I felt once I lost weight and worked on building muscle.”
Unlike international cricketers, domestic cricketers are generally obligated to serve their employers during the off-season and Jackson’s case is no different. The 33-year-old revealed that he will start his work with the Income Tax office and added that such a job outside of cricket is what gives players like him the financial stability to lead a stable life, even if they are to bid goodbye to the sport one day.
"Work beckons now, that's the life of a domestic cricketer during the off-season. They (the employers) have been the most supportive over the year. It's this security that has also helped me. Today, if a cricketer isn't part of the IPL, you need that security of a job to keep you going, because you can't play forever. A Ranji Trophy title has given me the hunger to keep going when it seemed as if my time was up. The fire is still burning."
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