Shahrukh Khan, who was the Punjab Kings’ only silver lining from the CSK clash, insisted that his ‘core game’ is very strong, due to which he can not just be a finisher but also accumulate tough runs for the side. Shahrukh Khan rued the fact that he was not able to bat through all 20 overs.
Punjab Kings paid Shahrukh Khan INR 5.25 crore in the 2021 auction for his fireworks and pyrotechnics, but the Tamil Nadu batsman was asked to perform a completely different role against Chennai Super Kings on Friday, where he walked in at 19/4 in the 5th over. Fans of Indian cricket have been used to seeing Shahrukh go berserk from ball one, but the youngster showcased a different side to his batting in Mumbai as, playing the situation, the right-hander struck a 37-ball 46 to save his side from getting humiliated. It was a fine effort from the 25-year-old who, with no recognised batsman at the other end, launched timely calculated assaults on the CSK bowlers to keep the score ticking.
The knock enhanced the right-hander’s reputation, and speaking in the press conference post the game, the Tamil Nadu man insisted that he has always been a ‘good batsman’. Shah Rukh admitted that he is in the Punjab side as a finisher, but stressed that, thanks to his basics being strong, he is someone who can also get tough runs for the side when the need arises.
“My role is playing down the order as a finisher but you can’t expect to go down there and blast every game. There will be situations where you need to take responsibility when the team bundles out and see the team through,” Shah Rukh Khan said on Friday.
“I don’t think I’m branded as a pure finisher; I’m a good batsman. I batted at the top of the order for Tamil Nadu for a couple of years. I’ve batted up so I have the skill in me to bat through tough situations. I have really developed my game as a finisher in the last couple of years, still the core game is with me - to watch the ball and play normal cricketing shots.”
For the second game running, Wankhede oversaw a total below 150, and the Punjab batsman pointed out that the track was uncharacteristically slow, with the ball stopping on the surface many a time. But despite the sluggish nature of the wicket, the 25-year-old rued the fact that he did not bat all 20 overs, for, according to him, 20 more runs could have made the contest a tight one.
“I thought the pitch was a bit slow. Not the usual Wankhede that I’ve seen through the years. It really stopped a lot, we didn’t expect it to behave in such a manner. But as and when the dew factor comes in, the ball skids on to the bat.
“Yes we had half the side inside the dressing room, but I still wanted to hang around for some time and assess the pitch a bit more so that slog overs would be a bit easier for me. I think if I’d have played those 5 balls in the 20th over, we’d have been 20 runs more, which would have been a tight game.”
Despite impressing in the domestic circuit for years, it was only this season that Shahrukh managed to find a buyer in the IPL, and the youngster is already cherising the experience. The 25-year-old stated that he is keen to use this opportunity to grow and evolve as a player, and attested that having conversations with coaches and senior players in the side will do a world of good for his growth as a player.
“It’s a different scenario compared to the domestic games but here really I’m getting to learn a lot of things. I’m trying to improve my game 1% every session I go in. I’m really having a good time with our coaches, Wasim Jaffer and Andy Flower. I’m really having good conversations with them and they are helping me with my batting. Hopefully I’ll continue to do good.
“When the likes of Nicholas Pooran, Chris Gayle, Dawid Malan, KL Rahul talk to you and see you in the nets and say certain things, it’s really going to help your batting improve. I’m obviously still new to the IPL and there is a long way to go, but I’m going to take a lot of thoughts from them and a lot of advices to try and go out there and use it.”